To begin, we watch a patterning video on YouTube together. I like this video because it helps children visualize the idea that patterns are around us in everyday life.
After the video, to introduce the ABC pattern, I gather children on the carpet and tell them I have a new pattern to share. Without saying anything else, I will begin to build an ABC pattern with unifix cubes. As I am building I will say things such as, "Oh my, this pattern is very tricky. I wonder if you can figure it out." I had a handful of children that were able to guess that the 3rd color was the "c" in my pattern.
After I put together 4-5 different ABC patterns with the cubes, most all of my students caught on. For the few that did not, they will build patterns with me while the others get to their independent work.
At this time, I send students out on their own to build ABC patterns with unifix cubes. I will help those that are struggling, and move around the room for informal assessment. Once I am confident a student can build the ABC pattern with ease, I ask them to complete the assignment, Fruit for Pie (see resources). I also require that the pattern be labeled ABC. I feel it is important for my students to verbalize the pattern when asked.
Once students have completed their patterning, I tell them they are now "pattern experts', and that we will celebrate by having fun with all the patterns we have learned in tomorrow's lesson. (see lesson-Pattern Party)