In the Classroom: Seeing Patterns with the Starfish

Starfish building patterns

Recently, the Starfish investigated patterns. We defined patterns as “Something that happens over and over again.” We looked at three different types: visual or patterns that you can see, aural or patterns that you can hear and behavioral or patterns that you make with (by moving) your body. Then we looked at two different categories: natural and created patterns. We looked at books with photographs of tropical fish, big cats and amphibians to see natural patterns. We read Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale and Lots of Dots! by Craig Frazier to see illustrated ones and read many Dr. Seuss books to hear patterns. Tamara Clark, our Preschool Program Coordinator, encouraged our focus by bringing us our own copy of Spotty, Stripy, Swirly, an awesome pattern book by Jane Brocket!

We visited the Rotunda to check out its numerous patterns.  We looked for patterns everywhere else in the neighborhood: at doors, windows, buildings, plants, gardens, window displays, sidewalks, even the furniture and décor in some restaurants! In class, our various blocks and counting materials were used to create shape, texture and color patterns. Throughout our exploration, the Starfish also watched video clips on YouTube of choreographed dancing and musicals like ‘West Side Story’ to experience all three types of patterns at once! We drew and used paper stripes, polka dots and natural materials to make pattern collages. We learned ‘Punchinello’, a follow-the-leader game that Kali learned as a preschooler, which we used to create and teach each other our own behavioral patterns.

Hands down, the Starfish had the most fun sharing their clothing patterns. Every morning, the children gleefully pulled off their coats for pattern identification, wearing outfits that mixed checkerboard plaids, cheetah prints, textural patterns like cable sweaters and corduroy, polka dots, stripes, argyles, shapes, animals and tartan plaids! They giggled as we named each pattern and got a kick out of teachers Kali and Johnetta joining in on the fun. Johnetta wore one with a fun name, herringbone and a Starfish was inspired to make ears to match her cheetah leggings after Kali wore matching ears with my cheetah shirt! If it sounds like we had fun day after day you’d be right- there was definitely a pattern!