Pattern Blocks--Kindergarten Level
A Lesson Plan by Joyce Perdue
This plan is written for students using the Internet for access to: Jacobo Bulaevsky's site: http://www.arcytech.org/java/java.shtml. The lesson could be accomplished without computers, using actual pattern blocks or paper representations of the blocks and paper/pencil/crayons..
Purpose: To give kindergarten students the opportunity to experiment with the following NCTM Standards: Algebra (understand patterns, relations, … represent and analyze mathematical situations…; use mathematical models to represent and understand quantitative relationships;), as well as Geometry, Problem Solving, Representation.
Objective(s): Students will be able to recognize and create patterns. Students will recognize the size relationships between the different pattern pieces.
Materials: Virtual pattern blocks, electronic grid
Procedures: Students will learn how to move the electronic pattern blocks onto the grid, rotate them, and use the broom to get rid of the pieces when finished.
Let the students tell you their definitions of a "pattern". At this level they may use such language as "pieces that happen again", "always happen the same way", etc.
Using the large demonstration computer monitor and together with the students, choose two different blocks, put them onto the grid in an AB pattern. [To make the lesson flow, encourage student to begin building the pattern on the left, at the top of the grid. Later, as they add more patterns or other creations, there will be plenty of room.] As students practice doing the same thing, have them tell you what part of the design "keeps happening". Tell them the part that keeps happening is called the "rule".
Change the rule by choosing two different pieces and putting the first two pieces on the grid, along with the students. Tell them to continue making the pattern on their own, as you monitor their creations. You may do this step as many times as your instructional period allows.
Next, have students drag one blue rhombus onto the grid. Tell them to look carefully at the green triangle pictured on the left of the grid. Ask them to estimate how many green triangles it will take to exactly cover the blue rhombus. After hearing the estimates, have the students drag triangles over to cover the rhombus. [2 triangles = 1 blue rhombus]
Then have students drag a red trapezoid onto the grid. Tell them to look carefully at the green triangle pictured on the left of the grid. Ask them to estimate how many green triangles it will take to exactly cover the trapezoid. After hearing the estimates, have the students drag triangles over to cover the trapezoid. [3 triangles = 1 red trapezoid]
Additional activities would be to compare trapezoids to hexagons, blue rhombuses to the hexagon, or triangles to hexagon. . As an added treat students will also enjoy creating their own "figures" designed to meet your criterion. Example: "Design a figure that has 6 legs".
Evaluation: By visually examining the computer monitor screens, it will be clear which students understand constructing a pattern, and which students have discovered the size relationships between the different pieces.