Grades: 4-5

Content areas: Math and Visual Art

Patterns in math seem deceptively simple to teach, and at the beginning, it’s not so hard.  But once students move into grades 3 and 4, we start to notice more struggle in patterning due to concepts like mixed pattern identification and creation.  Growing patterns, multiple number patterns, and layered patterns are all more complicated for students.

Interestingly, this is also the period of time when some brave art teachers begin introducing weaving techniques and work on weaving projects like making small bags or creating wall hangings.  Talk to any art teacher and they will say they either love or hate teaching weaving for a visual arts lesson plan.  Coincidence?  Not really.  The overarching concept of pattern manipulation is linking these two complex teaching units.

So why not put them together?  In this free visual art lesson plan, we’re using previously taught concepts of mixed patterns and weaving and pulling them together.  Students end up creating a weaving that demonstrates a mixed math problem using different colors and textures in their project.  Please note that to be most successful with this, both mixed patterns and weaving should be taught explicitly in the math and art classes respectively PRIOR to this culminating lesson.

Have you taught either of these concepts?  What other strategies or ideas should we consider for a math and art lesson plan?  Let us know in the comments below!

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