We’re in not-back-to-school mode around here, and I’m easing back into our routine with an apple themed week. It’s a pretty broad theme with a bazillion activity possibilities, but I need to think outside the box a bit to keep all my kids interested since they’re at very different ages & stages. I’m talking Speedy McToddlerpants, a mile-a-minute & totally bonkers early-elementary kiddo, and then, of course, my oldest who’s all *eye roll*, all the time. Like, “Hey you wanna–” *eye roll*. “It’s time to get ready for–” *epic eye roll.* “Pizza–” *eye roll*. “Zombie apocalypse–” well, that one he might be interested in 😉 But for the most part, he just can’t even.
Anyway, where was I…..oh yeah, learning some stuff.
So it started with apples, and as I was searching for inspiration I came across this rad (and free!) pop art apple coloring page by Art with Jenny K on Teachers Pay Teachers. So, so cool. And after downloading, I found that it wasn’t just a coloring page at all. The download comes with a printable poster that gives a brief intro to pop art. There are two differentiated versions of the coloring page. There’s a pre-colored example. Some teaching notes & how-to info. Aaaaaannnd some journaling pages for after the activity – 2 with writing prompts about the project, one blank. Pretty darn thorough for a freebie! The rest of her store looks great and if this freebie is anything to judge by, it must be. I’ll definitely be visiting again.
Having found this gem I decided to use it as part of a morning-long lesson on patterns. Teaching patterning skills is important for so many reasons. Patterns are all around us, in everything we do. The minutes of the hour, the hours in a day. Day and night. Sleeping and waking. The roads we drive on, the sidewalks we walk on. Weather. Seasons. The solar system, the universe. Even our clothes, our meals, and our schedules all contain and follow patterns. Word families, rhymes, poems, stories, counting, math facts, shapes, songs, games…patterns can be found and made and learned from in everything we do. Learning about patterns helps to develop visual & auditory discrimination, critical thinking, problem-solving, The better a child understands patterns, the easier it will be for the child to make connections, understand new concepts, and acquire a whole lotta skills.
So back to our morning. What did we learn about patterns today? Well, we started by talking about the definition of a pattern – a regular sequence discernible in certain actions, objects, and situations. What does that mean? Well, in a pattern, certain objects or events repeat over and over, so that we can tell what’s coming next by what’s come before.
We looked at some pictures of different types of patterns in this article on MathRise, which also delves into why teaching kids to recognize, continue and create patterns is super-duper essential. Then I pointed out a few examples of patterns in the room: the planks of the floor repeating one rectangle after another, the flowers on my skirt, the polka dots on a storage box. Next, my little guys watched this short & simple but catchy video which gives a few examples of patterns via a singing mushroom and his robot friends. My big guy pretended like he didn’t care, but he was grinning at that mushroom underneath it all 😉
After getting that stuck in our heads, I challenged the kids to search for patterns around the house. Here’re a few of the things they came up with:
I asked them to explain the patterns they saw to me and to tell me what would come next if we were to continue building – add more rows to the striped blanket, say. They had some great answers, not all of which were accurate, but that’s OK! The point is, they recognized the pattern and were exercising their thinking caps by analyzing the components of the pattern and trying to predict what would happen next. I’ll call that a win.
From there, we took a look at the coloring pages and read the brief poster that came with the download to get a little feel for what the pop art movement is. We used the interactive page to look at some of the ideas for patterns the kids could use to bling out their apples, like dots, zig-zags, waves, stripes, etc. My oldest got to work with a black marker, outlining different patterns in each of the sections of the page, while my little guy said, “Um…no thank you.” Can’t win ’em all!
Once the big guy had outlined all of his patterns, it was time to get coloring, and so the pattern creation began anew as he chose & repeated colors throughout the page until we wound up with this awesome creation:
The little dude did end up deciding to give it a try later on, using the coloring page with pre-filled patterns. Here’s where he’s at –
All in all, a totally engaging resource & a fun morning lesson. Hope you enjoyed this patterning lovefest as much as we did! Be sure to check back soon for more STEAM activities, appley goodness, and of course, angsty teen eye rolls.
What’s your favorite lesson or activity for teaching patterns?