Patterns in a Circle

Australian curriculum number (ACMNA005)

Students explore the various possibilities for constructing a circular three-pattern using two different colours. They discover that, although the three-patterns may at first look different, they form identical circular patterns. Students then create different circular four-patterns and identify similarities and differences between these patterns.

This sequence is written for Foundation students with experience in copying, continuing and creating repeated patterns.

Lesson 1: Three Pom-Poms

The task uses the context of decorating party hats to explore patterns forming a circle. Students look at different patterns that can be made with three pom-poms and what these patterns look like when made into a circle. Students create their own patterns using two green pom-poms and one blue, and discover that all possible combinations look the same when repeated in a circle.

Lesson 2: What About Four?

Students look at the ways four pom-poms can be arranged to form a repeating pattern around the base of a party hat. Students recognise the similarities and differences between the various circular patterns.