Math Background

Lesson: Patterns
Developing the Concept

Materials: cubes and other materials to make patterns

Preparation: Decide on the material you want children to use and make certain there is enough for each pair of students. Prepare several simple patterns to show the children — perhaps an AB, AAB, ABB, and an ABC pattern. Each pattern should repeat at least once. Also make pattern strips for children to use later in the activity.

Prerequisite Skills and Concepts: The children should be familiar with the concept of patterns learned in previous activities.

Give cubes or other material to each pair of children. Hold up an AB cube pattern for the children to see.

  • Ask: What can you tell me about these cubes?
    Elicit from children that the cubes show a pattern of every other cube being the same color. Have children point out the repeating part of the pattern. Show several other AB patterns of different colors. Then give a prepared AB pattern to each pair and work with them to duplicate it with their materials.
  • Say: Now we are going to try another pattern.
    Hold up an AAB pattern.
  • Ask: How is this pattern different from the one we just completed?
    Elicit that there are two cubes of the same color followed by one cube of a different color and that the three cubes repeat to make the pattern. Have a child point out the repeating part. Give each pair of children an AAB pattern that you made and have them duplicate and then extend it.
  • Continue in this manner with the ABB and ABC patterns. Allow plenty of time for children to duplicate and then extend each pattern. If necessary, go back and review the new patterns by having children act them out. Remember to continue asking questions about how they figured out the pattern, how the pattern was made, and what the repeating part is.
  • Finally, you may want to give children a pattern strip and have them make the pattern that is shown on the strip.

Wrap-Up and Assessment Hints:
Children need lots of practice identifying and extending patterns before you assess their skills. They also need to be comfortable with the materials they are using. As children are working, reinforce the vocabulary that is used when they are making patterns. Have them explain how they figured out their patterns and point out what part is repeated.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade K