Introduction to Patterning

Early Years (Age 3 – 6)

Curriculum Goal

Kindergarten: Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviour

  • Recognize, explore, describe, and compare patterns, and extend, translate, and create them, using the core of a pattern and predicting what comes next (#18).


  • Students and teacher will gather at the carpet and sit in a circle.


  • Whiteboard or chalkboard ​
  • Dry-erase markers or chalk


  • Display a simple pattern on the whiteboard (e.g., AB pattern).
  • Ask students if they can identify or extend the pattern.
  • After each extension or suggestion of the pattern, ask students to justify their thinking.
  • Ask, How do you know that the pattern is correct?
  • Proceed by writing a different or more complicated pattern (e.g., ABC pattern) on the board and repeat the steps above.
  • Once students comprehend how to build onto existing patterns, challenge them by displaying a pattern with missing pieces.
  • Pose the question, What piece or parts of the pattern belong in the blank section(s)
  • Encourage students to justify their responses and to explain their reasoning.
  • Wrap up the activity by defining the components and rules of a pattern (e.g., the pattern core, a pattern consists of at least three repetitions or cycles).

Look Fors

  • How easily can children identify, expand, and justify patterns accurately?
  • What skills do students use when extending patterns or filling in missing pieces to the pattern?


  • This activity can be done using more complex patterns with different objects, materials, or symbols.

Related Lessons

Identify a pattern’s building block and extend it using repetition.

Using students names, practice recognizing patterns.

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