assess prior knowledge, group the students in pairs, and give each
student three objects that could constitute the core of a pattern, such
as one green cube, one yellow cube, and one white cube; or one hexagon,
one blue rhombus, and one trapezoid; or one big button, one mid-sized
button, and one small button.
Ask the students to work together by having one member of the
pair begin a pattern and the second member of the pair draw the next
six shapes needed to make two more repeats of the core. Repeat this
activity so that each member of the pair has a turn beginning and
completing a pattern.
Complete the Pattern
Give each student a copy of Complete the Pattern
activity sheet, and have him or her work independently by placing
objects on the boxes with an "X" and drawing the two repeats of the
core (what would come next if there were two more repeats).
Review the students' work to determine which students
understand the concept of creating and recording repeating patterns and
which do not.
Save these samples to measure progress, determine grouping strategies, or provide feedback to the students.
To begin the lesson, model for the students how to create an ABC
pattern using sounds and movement such as (1) stand up, sit down, snap
or (2) squat, stand, clap. Remember to repeat the pattern core at least
three times so the students experience the process of creating a
Show the students different ways to represent the same
pattern, ABC, such as by counting "one, two, three" or by gluing a
square, circle, and triangle to a strip of paper.
The Shape Tool
You might choose to use The Shape Tool virtual manipulative to model what a "stand up, sit down, snap" pattern would look like using different pattern block shapes.
Explain the elements of a pattern.
In the example above, the blue rhombus represents the "stand up"
element, the red trapezoid represents the "sit down" element, and the
green triangle represents the "snap" element. These elements must be
repeated at least two more times to establish a pattern.
Focus the students' attention on the similarities among the
different representations of the same pattern by comparing and
identifying the common properties of the core in each pattern. (Each
has three elements that constitute the core.)
Creating different representations of the patterns and
comparing them helps the students make important connections. This
exercise builds understanding of the consistency of the pattern and
builds the students' ability to recognize translations of the same
pattern in multiple media.
Divide the class into four groups of equal size. Give each group a large piece of paper and crayons or markers.
Show a pattern--such as clap, snap, squat--and have one group
represent it with letters. Review this representation, noting how the
one you presented compares to the one generated by the group.
Ask a second group of students to show the pattern using
numbers. Review and discuss this way of representing the pattern.
Remember to point out similarities and differences among the three
Have the third group show the pattern using objects. Review and discuss.
Ask the fourth group to represent the pattern with pictures. Review and discuss.
Post the four representations alongside the pattern you
presented, and ask the students to point out other similarities and
The discussions following the creation of each pattern are
essential to help the students have a visual memory of the pattern so
that they have a referent in their "mind's eye" when they are asked to
create similar patterns at another time.