Patterns and Relationships: Here, There & Everywhere

Source Institutions

Source Institutions

Add to list Go to activity
Activity link broken? See if it's at the internet archive
In this math activity, learners use a variety of sensory modalities to gain experiences with identifying, describing and creating repeating patterns. Learners read and act out the book, "Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do you See?" to explore word patterns in literature. They investigate musical sounds and rhythms by playing keyboards and water glass xylophones. Using tempera paints and sponge shapes, learners also create wrapping paper by repeating shape and color patterns. Even the sense of taste is used in pattern explorations as learners make fruit shish kabobs that have a definitive repeating pattern. Learners are also challenged to find patterns in nature as they examine a snake's skin and discuss patterns in other animals. These activities can be set up as centers or facilitated individually.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
Over $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 6

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See" by Bill Martin Jr.
  • Large masks for main characters in book (Brown Bear, Red Bird, Yellow Duck, Blue Horse, Green Frog, Black Sheep, Purple Cat, Goldfish, White Dog, Mother)
  • Chart with common word endings or word families - at - it - ack - ick, etc.
  • White unlined paper
  • Pencils
  • A variety of sponge shapes (hearts, stars, circles, dinosaurs, etc.)
  • Tempera paints (3-5 colors)
  • Large sheets of white unlined paper, approximately 36 inches x 20 inches
  • Unlined paper, approximately 12 inches by 5 inches
  • 12 water glasses with various amounts of water (food coloring may be added to color the water)
  • Xylophone mallet
  • Labels for water glasses
  • Keyboards
  • Bowls of pieces of fruit and marshmallows
  • Shish kabob skewers with blunt ends
  • 24-36 plastic eggs of different colors
  • 6 ice cube trays
  • Charts showing pictures of birds, butterflies, snakes, etc.
  • Yarn pieces about 18 inches in length
  • A variety of beads, pieces of straws, uncooked pasta
  • Collection of books with repeating phrases ("Polar Bear, Polar Bear," "Three Billy Goats Gruff," "The Three Little Pigs," "The Very Busy Spider")


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
  • Mathematics
    • Algebra
      • Patterns
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Food and Cooking
  • Literature
  • Music
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • hear
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, PBS, 2012

Funding Source:

  • US Department of Education