Patterns: Attribute Trains

Australian curriculum number (ACMNA005)

Students are asked to determine what an object might look like when one or two of its attributes are changed. The sequence begins by looking at the attributes of colour and shape and then introduces a third attribute of size. This builds students' ability to observe the similarities and differences of objects based on attributes.

This sequence is for students who:

  • have used the attributes of objects to create patterns
  • have experience sorting and classifying objects into groups based on their attributes.
  • have experience identifying how someone else may have sorted a collection.


Lesson 1: Attribute Train

This task asks students to use a set of attribute cards to create an attribute train. The cards use the attributes of colour and shape. One shape is chosen as the start of the train and each subsequent card added must change just one attribute at a time. Students use their cards to make the longest train that they can. Three additional challenges are then presented to the students.

Lesson 2: Train Challenge

This resource extends on the first task in the sequence by adding the additional attribute of size. The game ‘Train Challenge’ has students play against each other to create trains using three attributes. The lesson concludes by looking at a hypothetical game and considers the most strategic moves that can be made by each player.


Last updated January 12 2018.