Exploring Shapes and Patterns

Transparent Triangles (An Everyday Story)

Transparent Triangles (An Everyday Story)

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Why do we teach patterns?

Patterns are everywhere. They are all around us; in nature, in words, in songs, in movement… everywhere.

Patterns are also a fundamental part of maths. Learning to recognise patterns helps children to make connections, make predictions and begin to understand how different things work together. By understanding patterns, children are laying down those first steps towards understanding and recognising patterns in numbers and equations.

For the last couple of weeks we have been looking at patterns and shapes; recognising, copying, creating and extending patterns. We’ve been asking:

What comes next?

Can you see a pattern?

Can you continue this pattern?

What predictions can you make?

Can you create a pattern?

Transparent Triangles (An Everyday Story) Transparent Triangles (An Everyday Story) Transparent Triangles (An Everyday Story) Transparent Triangles (An Everyday Story)Here’s some of the things we have been exploring lately. We started by looking at shapes and talking about their characteristics. We looked at shapes in nature and shapes in our home.

Jack and Sarah ran around the house collecting different things for a shapes hunt, collecting all kinds of interesting materials from spools to a ukulele.

I created a shapes feely bag using our window blocks (a rectangle, square, triangle and circle) for Jack and Sarah to explore. Without looking, Jack and Sarah would reach their hand into a calico bag and search around for a particular shapes. They really enjoyed this little game.

A simple art project was creating shapes with yarn and cellophane. Jack and Sarah cut the yarn to the size they wanted then shaped them onto contact paper before filling them with cellophane. Math Art (An Everyday Story)From there we started to look at 3D shapes; matching them to their 2D counterpart. We looked particularly at cubes, spheres, pyramids and cones. We looked at their characteristics and created our own with playdough and rods. Transparent Cubes (An Everyday Story) Spielgaben Math (An Everyday Story)We spent some time looking at wooden geometric shapes; characterising them, comparing and sorting. In these photos, Jack and Sarah have sorted the shapes according to which ones will roll; identifying flat and curved surfaces. 3D Wooden Shapes (An Everyday Story) 3D Wooden Shapes (An Everyday Story)This week we have been looking at patterns; what pattern can they see? What can they create? What can they predict? Our Spielgaben set has been getting quite the work out this week; lots of creating with shapes. Spielgaben Math (An Everyday Story)Today we did something really fun. I really enjoyed watching Jack and Sarah work with this little activity. After spending quite a bit of time playing with the transparent triangles on the light panel, I thought Jack would enjoy creating his own geometric collage.

I cut equilateral triangles out of pages from some old Australian Geographic magazines and set them out with some craft glue. The colours looked beautiful.

He dove straight in, creating beautiful collages. Sarah too, working hard to dot just a little glue on each corner. Math Art (An Everyday Story) Math Art (An Everyday Story)So that’s a little of what we have been doing with maths lately. Nice and hands-on. I have some more ideas for exploring patterns; we’ve been looking at patterns in nature with this book and I would like to extend that more; maybe on a large scale. I’m thinking about maybe a photography project. Jack’s been using his camera a lot again lately and this might be a nice way to include that interest too.


Here’s some of the materials we’ve been enjoying:


11 Replies to “Exploring Shapes and Patterns”

  1. Super inspiring, Kate! I love at how rich you make your experiences. I love the progression of the learning centred about a common theme and I love how open ended the explorations are, being that there are no right or wrong answers. You are truly gifted!!

  2. Love the collage idea – so much fabulousity right there! When can we come over and play?

  3. Love it, what great ideas and so beautiful.
    We also have those wooden shapes, they make a great pixie village, with the discovery that a rounded based cone fits onto a rounded based cylinder (and so forth).
    If your daughter is into Frozen, she might enjoy looking at fractals – you can find them anywhere from cauliflower to ferns to, of course, snowflakes!

  4. Inspiring as always Kate 🙂 I love the sorting they did. I think that would make an interesting art exploration too. I very much like the look of those cubes too. They look like so much fun to play with.

  5. You have so many great pattern ideas here! Love them all and I think we will be trying a few at our house too 🙂

  6. I want to play with this stuff never mind the kids! The magazine collage is a great idea and would definitely inspire busy hands.

  7. Oooh those size and colour cubes on the light table are fabulous!!! I want to come and play!!

  8. So many beautiful ideas Kate! I love the national geographic pattern collage!

  9. I always find so much inspiration in your posts, just lovely 🙂

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