Math Background

Lesson: Patterns
Introducing the Concept

Tell children they have often encountered patterns without knowing what they were. Introduce patterns by playing a game in which children become part of the pattern.

Materials: none

Preparation: none

Prerequisite Skills and Concepts: Children should have an understanding of same and different. They should be able to name colors and shapes and differentiate sizes.

Have 8 or 10 children come to the front of the room. Have every second child sit while the others stand.

  • Ask: Can you tell me anything about what you see?
    Children should say that some children are sitting and some children are standing.
  • Ask: If another child joined the children, would that child sit or stand?
    Depending on what position the last child is in, the next child will either sit or stand.
  • Continue adding children to the line, while children at their seats predict the next position.
  • Ask: What do you see happening here?
    Elicit from children that the positions of the children are repeated.
  • Say: Something that repeats over and over in the same order is called a pattern. We are going to learn how to recognize patterns and how to copy and extend them.
  • Continue having children do patterns throughout the day as they line up or during free time. You may do motions such as hands up over the head, hands at the sides, or stand, sit, squat, and so on. Try introducing AAB, ABB, and ABC patterns as children become comfortable with the concept of patterning. (An AAB pattern could be sit, sit, stand; an ABB pattern – sit, stand, stand; an ABC pattern – sit, stand, squat.) These body patterns will prepare them for making patterns with materials. At some point you may want to have a child get into an incorrect position for a pattern to see if children notice that it is wrong and if they can suggest a way to correct it.

Houghton Mifflin Math Grade K