Teaching Patterns to Elementary students

Teaching Patterns with Lower Elementary Students

I have always enjoyed teaching early elementary math skills. I pretty much cap out at being awesome at this by about fourth grade, but there are so many fun ways to teach basic math concepts when our students are young. Teaching Patterns is no exception.  With this lesson I wanted students to be able to identify and describe a basic repeated pattern found in different objects. We had a blast discussing patterns with different objects and then making our own.

Party With Patterns

Step 1:

Place colored construction paper in a pattern on the floor or wall. (Red green blue, red green blue) Ask students to tell you what they notice.

Explain that today they are going to work on patterns.

Write the letter A on one color of construction paper and the Letter B on another color.

Do that 2 times and place them in an AB pattern.

Tell students that when we look at patterns we assign a letter to them.

Ask them to tell you the pattern that they see. Lay down the same colors in an AB pattern without writing the letters on them and ask them to say the pattern.

Do this with two DIFFERENT colors and ask them to tell you the pattern. Explain to them that an AB pattern can be used with anything. Show them an AB pattern using other objects. Example: Pencil, scissors, pencil, scissors

When they are comfortable enough with the AB pattern, add another color and introduce the ABC pattern.

Teaching Patterns

Begin to mix things up by explaining how each color/object is assigned a letter and as far as the pattern goes, it will remain that letter throughout the whole pattern. So we can mix things up by changing the pattern to AAB, AAB, AAB or ABAA, ABAA or ABAC, ABAC. Play around with this for a little while until you are certain your students understand.

Step 2:

Using pattern blocks or cut up squares of paper, have students create their own patterns and share with each other their patterns. Ask them to tell you or each other if it’s an AB, or an ABC etc. Pattern.

Teaching Patterns to Elementary Students

Teaching Patterns

Step 3:

Pass out napkins and Cheeze it snack mix and tell students to create an AB pattern. Then an ABC pattern, AAB, ABB, ABBC

Ask them to come up with their own pattern . If time allows let them create their patterns and share with the group. One student can say: I created an ABCCCD pattern, can you create it too? Then let them try to re-create each other’s pattern.

Teaching Patterns to Elementary Students


Grab the Whole Lesson Plan in an easy to download format here: 


This lesson is part of my Number Ninja’s co-op curriculum. You can find the rest of these awesome lessons here: 

Teaching Patterns to Elementary students

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