Lesson plan

Pasta Patterning

Let's "cook up" some patterns! In this lesson, students use pasta to help them recognise AB, AAB, and ABB sequences.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Stamping PatternsPre-lesson.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Stamping PatternsPre-lesson.
  • Students will be able to recognise and create basic patterns.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
Patterning Grid SheetPatterning Assessment ChecklistStudent Pattern Support Sheet
  • Begin the lesson with a discussion about patterns. Ask the class questions such as: "Have you ever seen a shirt with different colored stripes? Have you ever had to write or make something that has a pattern? What are some patterned things in our classroom? What are some patterned things you have at home?"
(10 minutes)
  • Organise your students into groups.
  • On your chart paper, projector or interactive whiteboard, display the Patterning Grid Sheet.
  • Explain to the class that a PatternIs a type of design that repeats itself.
  • Direct attention to the grids. Introduce the activity by announcing that each group will be making patterns with the help of the grid squares.
  • Replace the Patterning Grid Sheet display with the Student Pattern Support Sheet. For the duration of this section, you'll be going over the patterns on this sheet, starting from the top.
  • Introduce the AB pattern by informing the class that two alternating items can create a sequence that matches the format A-B-A-B. Demonstrate the pattern by repeating a sequence such as: Red, blue, red, blue.
  • Have students fill out the rest of the AB pattern on their Student Pattern Support sheets.
  • Introduce and demonstrate the AAB pattern.
  • Have students fill out the rest of the AAB pattern on their sheets.
  • Ask them to name similarities and differences between the the AB and AAB patterns. Great questions include: "Are the shapes in this pattern the same as the ones in the last pattern? What makes this pattern different from the last pattern?"
  • Introduce and demonstrate the ABB pattern.
  • Have students fill out the rest of the ABB pattern on their sheets.
  • Ask them to name similarities and differences between the the AAB and ABB patterns.
  • Allow volunteers to share other pattern combinations.
(5 minutes)
  • Display the last grid on the sheet: Your Pattern.
  • Have each student fill in the Your PatternGrid on their sheet with pasta noodles to create an AB pattern.
  • Ask groups to make sure that every member's pattern is correct.
  • Using the same grid, repeat the process for an AAB pattern and an ABB pattern.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask your students to complete their Patterning Grid Sheets using pasta noodles. Remind them that each grid should be filled with a pattern that matches its type. For example, the AB grid may be filled with the sequence Spiral-macaroni-spiral-macaroni.
  • Remind students that patterns repeat themselves, and let them know that they're free to reference their Student Pattern Support Sheets if needed.
  • Have them complete the grids in order. Ask them not to move onto another grid until they've finished their current ones.


  • Struggling students can pair up with peers to complete this activity. You can have these students focus only on AB patterns and skip moving on until they've mastered the AB sequence.


  • Students who need more of a challenge can try to create more advanced patterns. Each can use the space at the top of the Patterning Grid Sheet to make their pasta pattern.
(10 minutes)
  • Fill out your Patterning Assessment Checklist. Write students' names in the spaces provided and circle the patterns that each student can't recognise.
  • Additional space is provided in the "Patterns" column for notes.
(5 minutes)
  • Display the Patterning Grid Sheet.
  • Ask students to share their AB patterns with the class.
  • Fill out the AB grid with the shared patterns.
  • Ask students about their patterns. For example: "Why is this an AB pattern?"
  • Repeat this process for the AAB and ABB grids.

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