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5 — Patterns in nature

Sequence focus points

A scribbly bark gum tree, which bears intricate scribbly patterns on its bark.

Above: Marks made on a gum tree trunk by the larvae of scribbly gum moths, photo by Jennifer Asha


Revisit the books read so far in this unit and make links with the aspects of nature in the books and those in your local environment.

Talk about the insects that may be seen in the playground or school vegetable garden. Jointly write a list of the plants, animals and insects students have noticed and talk about the shape or pattern of that thing. Where possible, link these to the patterns made by letters.  ACELT1575,  ACELT1783,  ACELY1646

Activity 1: Pattern and shape hunt

Conduct a search in the playground or a local park to look for patterns in the natural or built environment. As the class searches, you should ask leading questions to guide the students to find patterns, shapes and symbols in the environment. For example, ‘I can see a square shape on the ground of our playground. Who can see the square shape?’, ‘This drain has a straight line pattern. Who can trace it with their foot?’

Record the patterns found using digital cameras and the Pattern and shape hunt worksheetACELY1645,  ACMNA005

Activity 2: Joint construction – writing about patterns

Display the photographs taken during Activity 1 on the interactive whiteboard and use them as a stimulus to jointly write some sentences suggested by the students, describing the patterns you have found.  ACELY1651

A spotted bug on a piece of bark

Above: Alex found a bug with a spotted pattern; the piece of wood has a circle pattern, photo by Jennifer Asha

For example:

Encourage student contributions by posing leading questions (for example, ‘What is the first sound we can hear in “bug”?’).  ACELA1432,  ACELA1435,  ACELA1438,  ACELA1439,  ACELA1440

Independent reading

Display the photographs with their captions in the classroom or on the interactive whiteboard. Conduct a reading walk. Leave photographs and captions displayed for students to read independently.  ACELY1650

Follow-up activity

Investigate the art of Jeffrey Smart, an artist who is inspired by the patterns he sees in the built environment, particularly in his works The Cleaners and Reflected Arrows.