Turkey Tail Patterning

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I just got a shock today when we were working on patterning.  My kids have been working on patterning since school started in September.  We pull out the pattern blocks, teddy bears, and other items and we make patterns.  All of my kids understand the simple AB pattern and most can make lots of more complicated patterns.

Well, imagine my shock when I did this cute project with them....

turkey tail patterns in a circle.

circle patterns

patterning activity

use pattern blocks to make turkey tail patterns

What's so shocking you wonder?  Well...

I began by cutting the circle and modeling a simple AAB pattern with red and yellow pattern blocks.  I put the blocks around the perimeter of the circle and asked, "Is this a pattern?"  I expected a resounding "YES!" but to my surprise, I heard,"NO!"

What?? No??  Umm, perhaps they didn't understand?  I asked, "Are you sure?  Let's see.  Red, red, yellow, red, red, yellow, red, red, yellow, red, red, yellow..."

As I was on my second loop they finally said, "Oh wait!  Yes it is!"

I then realized that we always make our patterns in a straight line.  I didn't give it a second thought.  But when I did this simple activity, they were thrown for a loop.  We had never made patterns in a circle shape.  What seemed so basic to me, was actually a challenge for them.  It got me thinking about so many other things that I teach.  I need to mix it up, keep them on their toes, keep challenging their thinking.  Isn't this really the root of the Common Core?  Challenging kids to become critical thinkers and problem solvers.  To do that they need to look at things in different ways.

I LOVE it when we have a day where they aren't the only ones having that "Aha" moment.  I had it too!

So, I got this cute idea from Pinterest.   I saw a lot of pins for "Symmetrical Turkeys" using pattern blocks.  I decided to change it up and make patterns for the tail feathers.  I think the project turned out very cute, but the best part is that I challenged their thinking and gave them a new way to see patterns.  I've got to do more of that... and I will.  If you want to challenge your kid's thinking too, you can click on any of the photos and you will go right to the blacklines and directions for doing this project with your own kiddos.


  1. You've just given me an "aha" moment as well. I've never thought about whether or not my kinders would recognize a pattern that wasn't left to right. Time to find out. Thanks for the insight!


Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top