Finding & Completing Shape Patterns: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Patterns can be found everywhere. From nature to artwork, and even our clothes, patterns are a part of our daily lives. In this lesson, you will learn how to find and complete shape patterns.

Cakes, Shapes, And Patterns

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a cake decorator? Wouldn't it be awesome to get to play with icing all day - and maybe get to eat the leftovers? Let's say that you are a cake decorator, and a customer shows you a picture of how she wants you to decorate a cake.

A pattern on a cake

Looking at the picture, you wonder how you will ever know which decoration goes where! It's impossible ... Unless you understand a certain type of pattern.

What Is A Shape Pattern?

Shape patterns occur when a group of shapes are repeated over and over again. These patterns follow a certain sequence, or order, of shapes that is then repeated at least two times. The shapes can be simple shapes like circles or squares, or other objects such as arrows, flowers, moons, and stars.

So, what is the shape pattern for the cake decorations?

If you look at the pattern of the cake decorations, you will notice that the decorations around the cake have a sequence of circle, square, triangle, star that repeats. This is the shape pattern for this cake.

Finding Shape Patterns

Have you ever been on a really long and boring road trip? You know, the kind where you have to ask, ''are we there yet?'' every 5 minutes because it's taking forever! Let's say you saw the highway signs that are displayed in the picture. You notice that they make a shape pattern, but how do you know what the pattern is?

A shape pattern with street signs
sign pattern

When identifying a shape pattern, you should:

  • Name the shapes you see in the pattern.

In this case, you see a triangle, rectangle, and octagon.

  • Identify the sequence of the shapes. The easiest way to do this is to start listing the shapes in the order they appear.

Looking at the highway signs, the order of shapes is triangle, rectangle, rectangle, octagon, triangle, rectangle, rectangle, octagon, triangle.

  • Look for when the sequence of shapes starts to repeat.

In this case, you see that the sequence being repeated is triangle, rectangle, rectangle, octagon. It is repeated twice, so you know that this is the entire sequence.

Therefore, the pattern for the highway signs is: triangle, rectangle, rectangle, octagon.

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