## Eating Up Patterns

In this lesson, children will sort by color and then create and extend patterns using Fruit Loops cereal.

### Math Lesson for:

Toddlers/Preschoolers

(See Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.)

### Content Area:

Algebra

### Learning Goals:

This lesson will help toddlers and preschoolers **meet the following educational standards**:

- Understand patterns, relations and functions

### Learning Targets:

After this lesson, toddlers and preschoolers should be **more proficient** at:

- Sorting and classifying by color
- Identifying, modeling and creating patterns

## Eating Up Patterns

### Lesson plan for toddlers/preschoolers

#### Step 1: Gather materials.

**Fruit Loops Cereal****Baggies**(to hold cereal)**Small bowls or organizer trays**(for cereal sorting)**Pipe cleaners**

**Note**: Small parts pose a choking hazard and are not appropriate for children age five or under. Be sure to choose lesson materials that meet safety requirements.

#### Step 2: Introduce activity.

**Show**the children the Fruit Loops cereal.**Ask**: “Is the cereal all the same? How is it different? How is it the same? Are they all the same size? The same color?”**Tell**the children that you are going to “sort” the cereal into groups based on color (put all of the pink cereal together, yellow together, etc.)**Say**: “Now that we have sorted the cereal, we are going to create patterns with the cereal.”**Explain**that a pattern is something that repeats more than once (pink, green, pink, green).**Create**a pattern using only two colors at first.**Ask**the children what they think will come next.**Continue**the pattern using more cereal.**Ask**the children if your extension is correct. If it is correct, eat the pattern!**Repeat**steps six through eight, increasing the number of colors and the difficulty of the pattern as you go.

#### Step 3: Engage children in lesson activities.

**Tell**the children that it is their turn to create a pattern using cereal.**Give**each child a small bag (or cup) of cereal.**Ask**the children to sort the cereal into different groups based on color.**Create**a pattern that each child will copy. Ask the children to copy your pattern and then extend the pattern. Once the children have checked their extension with you, they can eat their pattern.**Ask**the children to create their own patterns using the cereal.**Encourage**the children to describe what their patterns are and have them show the group the patterns before they eat them.**Give**each child a pipe cleaner and tell the child to create a pattern by placing the cereal on the pipe cleaner.**Ask**about each child’s pattern.**Encourage**the children to make longer extended patterns.

#### Step 4: Teach math vocabulary.

**Sort**: Separating the items according to a given attribute (e.g., “Let’s**sort**the motors by putting them into groups according to whether they float, fly or drive.”)**Classify**:**classified**this group of motors as the floaters. All of these motors together make another group.”)**More than, less than, the same***:*Words used to compare quantity (e.g.,”There are**more**flying motors**than**floating motors. There are**less**red motors**than**blue motors.”)**Count***:*To identify the amount of something by number (e.g.,”Let’s**count**how many motors we have that drive.”)**Amount**: The total number of an item (e.g.,”What is the total**amount**of motors you used?”)**Same**: Equal in number (e.g.,”Does the fly group have the**same**amount as the drive group?”)**Different**:**different**than the other motor?”)**More than**:**more than**the float group?”)**Less**:**less**motors than the fly group? Can you sort your items into different groups?”)**Same**: Identical in kind or quantity (e.g., “Are these things the**same**?”)**Different**:**different**?”)**Classify**: Naming the groups based on their same characteristics (e.g.,”We**classify**the cereal as orange, green, pink, etc.”)**Pattern**:**pattern**? What is your**pattern**?”)**Repeating**:**repeat**?”)

#### Step 5: Adapt lesson for toddlers or preschoolers.

##### Adapt Lesson for Toddlers

###### Toddlers may:

- Eat the pieces of cereal without patterning them
- Not be able to recognize a pattern or extend a pattern
- Call their creation a pattern, even if it is not

###### Home child care providers may:

- Use items to pattern other than cereal (something not edible)
- Have children eat the cereal in a pattern (Eat two green, two pink, two green, two pink. Now what should you eat next?)
- Make a pattern and encourage the children to describe it with support
- Compare their pattern with the child’s non-pattern,
**saying**: “I have two pink and two green and two pink and two green. You have two pink and one green and one orange.” **Ask**: “Can you make a new pattern starting with three green?”

##### Adapt Lesson for Preschoolers

###### Preschoolers may:

- Eat the cereal pieces without patterning them
- Copy an adult’s pattern
- Extend a pattern
- Make a pattern but not be able to describe it
- Describe their pattern
- Recognize when something is not a pattern

###### Home child care providers may:

- Have the children eat the cereal in a pattern (“Eat two green, two pink, two green, two pink. Now what should you eat next?”)
- Encourage the children to compare their patterns with their classmates’ patterns
- Ask the children to make more complex patterns (“Can you use four different colors in your pattern?”)

### Suggested Books

by Trudy Harris (Minneapolis, MN: Millbrook Press, 2000)*Pattern Fish*by Sue Kassierer (New York: Kane Press, 2001)*What’s Next Nina?*by Ivan Bulloch (Chicago, IL: World Book Inc., 1994)*Patterns*by Stephen Butler (Topeka, KS: Sagebrush Education Resources, 1994)*Mouse and the Apple*by Tana Hoban (New York: Greenwillow Books, 1987)*Dots, Spots, Speckles, and Stripes*by Tana Hoban (New York: Greenwillow Books, 1990)*Exactly the Opposite*by Laura Joffe Numeroff (New York: HarperCollins, 1985)*If You Give a Mouse a Cookie*by Sarah C. Campbell (Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, 2010)*Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature*

### Music and Movement

- “
**The Backyard Zoo**” by Kevin Schaffer www.songsforteaching.com/math/skipcountingpatterns/countingby1s.htm - “
**Finish the Pattern**” by Music with Mar

### Outdoor Connections

**Go on a leaf walk and collect leaves**. Look for patterns in the leaf designs.**Go for a walk around the neighborhood**. What kinds of patterns are all around the neighborhood? Look for patterns in the sidewalk, in windows and doors, etc.

### Web Resources

**Pattern Matcher: Making Patterns**www.pbs.org/parents/earlymath/prek_games_pattern.html

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