Inside: Easy DIY snap cube trains to practice patterning during daily calendar. Includes snap cube trains you can color.
Learning to recognize and build patterns is one of the fundamental structures of mathematics. Working with patterns is very common in classrooms and as the years progress the patterns become more complex.
In my classroom we spend the first 6 weeks of school immersed in patterns. But I also review patterns throughout the year.
For a great explanation of the importance of patterns in math be sure to read this post at Teaching and Learning With Heart.
One of the best ways to review patterns is with this pattern train I use each day. It’s quick, fun and an easy way to reinforce pattern knowledge. And young kids get excited about predicting what the new pattern will be.
I made a simple pattern holder (see below) out of a piece of folded and taped poster paper (that light weight cardboard).
I tack it to my calendar board and fill it with the pattern trains.
Each day I pull out one train, bit by bit, as we talk about and predict what the pattern might be.
It’s a great way to get the kiddies thinking about new patterns and to practice extending them.
Directions for Your Own Pattern Train
- Print several copies of the snap cube template on card stock (see below). You want at least a dozen pattern trains.
- Using felt pens, color the various trains in different patterns.
- Laminate the trains for durability. I promise you, they’ll get lots of use.
- Use a piece of poster board to cut, fold and tape a holder for your trains. The holder needs to be longer and wider than the trains.
- Attach the holder to your bulletin board in your calendar area.
- Put all the trains inside the holder.
- Each day slowly pull out the top train, revealing just one cube at a time, while your students predict what’s coming next.
Extending the Learning
After the pattern train has been revealed the kids and I always take a few minutes to talk about it:
- Identify the pattern (e.g., AB, ABC, ABBC etc.)
- Chant the pattern several times
- Clap, snap and stomp out the pattern
I’ve made it super easy for you to get started with your own Pattern Trains. You can grab a free pdf with the snap cube templates and some pattern holder signs (see above) you might wish to use.
DOWNLOAD: PATTERN TRAIN PDF
What do you do each day to reinforce pattern knowledge? I’d love to hear in the comments below.