Are you looking for fun and exciting ways to encourage your students to love math? There are many manipulatives out there that make hands-on learning fun for students, but I have a favorite. My favorite math manipulative is pattern blocks. I love to play with them myself, create new patterns, and explore the shapes I can make. My students love them just as much as I do.
What are pattern blocks?
Pattern blocks are small geometric shape blocks. There are typically six geometric shapes included in pattern blocks: hexagon, trapezoid, equilateral triangle, rhombus, square, and a thinner rhombus or diamond shape. These shapes all have the same length of sides, except for the trapezoid, so you and your students can explore putting all the shapes together to make new shapes and patterns. If you want more information on what pattern blocks are, what they look like, and how you can purchase them, follow this link to Amazon for pattern blocks for kids.
Why should I use pattern blocks in my classroom?
Besides being fun for students and teachers alike, pattern blocks are very engaging for educational purposes. Pattern blocks allow students to explore shapes in a fun way and apply them to many different math topics. You can use this manipulative to count, sort, and make patterns with the very youngest learners. For a little bit older students, this tool is excellent for learning about different shapes, symmetry, congruence, perimeter, and area.
Students quickly learn how pattern blocks can make interesting and creative shapes, patterns, and designs. They are a great manipulative for many different math lessons, but they are an excellent thing to play with during free time or indoor recess. The bright colors, different shapes, and endless possibilities for design and creativity are a draw for students of all ages.
How can I use pattern blocks in my classroom?
There are so many different answers to this question. I will break it down by grade and learning level. These pattern blocks are so versatile that you can use them beginning in preschool and use them all the way up through elementary school.
Pattern Blocks For Preschool-2nd Grade
Encourage these youngest learners to sort the pattern blocks by shape, size, and color. Then ask them to combine shapes into new shapes. This activity can be fun to break into teams. One teammate may be responsible for all of one shape to see how many new shapes their one shape can make. Encourage students also to design and build new shapes and see if they can create shapes they see in nature or in the world around them. You might see ideas like flowers, trees, houses, or even people.
If you’re looking for a place to start with your pattern blocks, I can help you out. I have monthly pattern block shapes puzzles for your students to explore. Each packet has pictures you print onto paper. From there, your students need to figure out how their shapes can fit inside the outline of the picture to duplicate the shape on the picture. It is a fun puzzle activity your students will love!
Pattern Blocks for 3rd-5th Grade
Use pattern blocks to define two-dimensional shapes and to create new two-dimensional shapes. Once the shapes have been created, students can then practice collecting data like perimeter and area on their shapes. Shapes created with pattern blocks can be changed and redesigned so your students can see how perimeter and area can change even when using the same number and shape of pattern blocks.
These pattern blocks are also a great tool to use when introducing fractions to students. The shapes are designed so that you can easily identify halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, and sixths with the provided shapes.
Your upper elementary students will also enjoy pattern block shapes puzzles for fun and a challenge to review their math skills. You can add to the resource I’ve developed and encourage your students to find perimeter and area once they have completed the pattern block shapes puzzles.
Pattern blocks are fun for kids of all ages, teachers included. You can incorporate them into many lessons for your elementary-aged learners, or you can just let them be available for your students to create and design their own patterns during free time or indoor recess. These pattern blocks are great for counting, sorting, and making patterns with young learners. These blocks are excellent for studying fractions, symmetry, perimeter, and area with older students. You can’t lose with these pattern blocks! Let me know how you use pattern blocks in your classroom and what your students have loved to create with them!