Lesson plan

Lanterns, Patterns, and Chinese New Year

Celebrating holidays can be more than just a party. In this lesson, students will learn about celebrating Chinese New Year and practice some math pattern skills.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

No standards associated with this content.

Which set of standards are you looking for?

Students will be able to design and identify shape patterns.

(5 minutes)
  • Call students together and show students pictures of lanterns floating in the sky.
  • Ask students if they have ever seen anything like this. (Students may mention kites or fireworks.)
  • Tell students that these are special lanterns that are being set off as part of the Chinese New Year celebration.
  • Ask your students, "What do you notice about these lanterns?"
  • Explain to students that the lanterns represent wishes for the future and other positive things.
  • Ask your class what other types of things might students want to wish for?
  • Red and gold have positive meanings in the Chinese culture. Do students notice these colors in the lanterns?
(5 minutes)
  • Tell students that they will be making their own special Chinese New Year lanterns today.
  • Explain to students that many people decorate their lanterns before they set them off into the sky. Today students will be decorating their lanterns with shape patterns. Ask students if they remember what a pattern is. (Students should say that a pattern is a continuous, repeating order.)
  • As a group, discuss some different shapes students know. Determine a pattern students would like drawn on this lantern.
  • After drawing the pattern, demonstrate how to roll a piece of construction paper into a long cylinder shape. Tape the cylinder together. Then, punch two holes on top and thread a string so that the lantern can hang from the ceiling.
  • Demonstrate to students how to cut fringe or other fun shapes along the top and bottom of the lanterns cylinder shape.
(5 minutes)
  • Give students the opportunity to share with a partner some different pattern ideas they might have.
  • Pass out a piece of colored paper to each student.
  • Have a student volunteer explain the process of creating a pattern lantern in their own words to the group.
  • Before sending students back to their desks to work, remind students of any rules for independent work periods that might apply (i.e. staying seated, only speaking in whispers).
  • Ask if students have any questions.
(15 minutes)
  • While students are working, any adults in the room should be circulating, answering questions, and assisting with the cutting as needed.
  • Playing festive Chinese New Year music in the background can help to set the tone for this activity.
  • It can be helpful to have specific stations set up around the room either with one supply each or a collection of all necessary supplies. This will help to avoid traffic jams as students need supplies.


  • Working in partners can help to scaffold the project.
  • Have a visual representation of patterns to copy and sample lanterns as a scaffolding.


  • Have students find shapes in a magazine or other type of print to cut out. These shapes can be glued in patterns on their lanterns (this requires extra effort identifying and finding shapes in other contexts).
(5 minutes)
  • Anecdotal notes can be taken about student comments in group and individual conversations.
  • Student lanterns can be examined for unique and correct patterns.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students together. Have students bring their decorated lanterns with them.
  • Have students do a partner share with a student sitting next to them. They should talk about what pattern they chose to create, how they chose this pattern, anything they learned in this activity, etc.
  • Then, have your class talk as a whole group about what a pattern is and why lanterns are important to Chinese New Year.
  • Help students to hang their lanterns around the classroom so they can celebrate Chinese New Year and have examples of patterns right before their eyes!

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items