By now your kid should be pretty familiar with patterns in math, but does she know about the patterns all around us—especially those that appear in nature? They may not always be easy to see, but patterns are everywhere. A great example of patterns in nature comes to us by way of the butterfly. These lovely creatures have unique sets of wings which mirror one another in patterns. After practicing some simple pattern completion, your child can practice making repeating patterns to create her own butterfly. She'll fold, cut, assemble and before you know it she'll have a beautifully symmetrical image.
What You Do:
- Before getting started, write out some number patterns for your child using the pencil and paper. Leave blank spaces in the pattern sequences for your child to fill. If you're having trouble coming up with some, here are a few that we used:
2, 4, _, 8, 10, 12, _, _, 18, _
1, 2, 2, _, 3, _, 4, 3, _, 6, 6, 5
10, 1, 9, _, 8, 3, 7, 4, _, 5
1, 2, 4, _, 16, _, 64, 128
20, 15, 19, _, 18, _, 17, 12, 17
- Explain that just like there are patterns in math, there are patterns in nature too.
- Have your child to fold a sheet of construction paper in half. Drawing from the fold of the paper out to the edges, encourage her draw one wing of a butterfly.
- Ask her to name some patterns that can be found in the wing of a butterfly. Perhaps there are dots, stripes, or zigzags.
- Have her draw a pattern of her choice in the butterfly wing. Make sure the pattern is large enough to be cut out.
- Keeping the paper folded, help her to cut the wings out, making sure to keep parts of the folded edge uncut. Be sure she cuts out all of the patterned parts she has drawn.
- Unfold the wings and glue them onto the lower half of a fresh sheet of construction paper.
- Have her cut out the body of the butterfly (a long oval) and glue it in place. She can cut additional pieces of paper to create all kinds of patterns on the body of the butterfly.
- Encourage her to cut out her butterfly's antennae and glue them into place.
- Hang her patterned butterfly as a reminder of the patterned beauty found in nature.