Math Lesson Plan: Patterning Fun

Beautiful repeating patterns are created using color, position (up/down), direction (turning), plus a variety of stamps.  Simple enough for grade 1’s but can be used to make quite complex patterns.   Grade 1’s and 2’s love to make very long, extravagant patterns with the paint and stamps.

Stamp Patterning Fun


  1. Learn patterning (use colour, position, direction, variety of stamps)


  1. Foam stamps (Walmart, craft stores, dollar stores)
  2. 4 choices of paint that go nicely together (eg. blue, red, yellow, green) for about 4 stations (**colours can be mixed ON the stamps)
  3. paintbrushes for each colour
  4. huge sheets of newsprint or newpapers,  or a large sheet of plastic or old shower curtains to cover at least 10 feet long
  5. 8 1/2″ X 14″ or larger white sheets, cut in half like a hotdog, then taped together into a long strip (students can make them 4 strips long, or whatever length fits your bulletin board
  6. pushpins to display work on your bulletin boards


  1. Cover the floor so that half the class can sit on one side and half of the other side.  Stamps can be placed all down the centre, with 4 paint colours every couple of feet so that there are four sets of colours, so all students can reach them.  Demonstrate 1/4 turns and upside down stampings to show variety.  Explain that COLOUR as well as POSITION and DIRECTION can change, as well as the STAMP.
  2. FOR GRADE 1’S:  Show students how to put paint on the stamps then press it once and place it down gently PAINT SIDE UP nearby, paint another stamp a different colour and press it once and place it down gently PAINT SIDE UP nearby, then WITHOUT repainting the first stamp, press it again in the SAME direction as the first one, and then redo the second one.  Each stamp can be USED TWICE WITHOUT repainting it.  Tell students NOT TOO MUCH PAINT or they will run when hung up and ruin their beautiful work.  Remind students that the colours and positions of the stamps have to be the same, in each group that is repeated.  Start with just 2 stamps for grade 1’s.  If they want to use one stamp, they can stamp it once, leave a space, then stamp again (stamp, space, stamp, space).  Then paint it a different colour and stamp it once in the first space they left and once in the second space, THEN REPEAT THE PATTERN.  Grade 1’s need to use at least two different colours or shapes for level 3 (B) work.  Once they have the idea of a pattern, and have demonstrated it correctly, have them check out the grade 2 examples before they start trying harder examples for level 4 work (A) using colour, shape AND DIRECTION (facing right, facing left, upside down, facing up) or POSITION (up/down).  PUT NAME AT END OF THEIR WORK, on the bottom, like artists do, in pencil though.
  3. FOR GRADE 2’S:  They can do the same as grade 1’s, explained in item 2 above, but they can use up to 4 or 6 stamps, but if they just want 2 or 3 that’s fine, but they need to show some ingenuity, like tilting one 1/4 turn to the left, or upside down and making the pattern consist of 4 to 6 different stampings, THEN REPEATING the pattern.  Let them know your expectations for level 3 (maybe 4-5 stamps using colour, direction, position, shape) and level 4 (A) maybe 6 or more stamps using colour, direction, position, shape.   PUT NAME AT END OF THEIR WORK, on the bottom, like artists do, in pencil though.
  4. Students carry work to bulletin board to be pinned up.  They dry well, as long as too much paint has not been added.  Students can carry paint to sink, wash brushes and help wash plastic or throw away paper.
  5. Teacher can grade their work from the bulletin board later because names are on the work, or do it later when they have been removed, before returning work to students.

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