October 30, 2017
by Catherine Crider

Lesson plan

Making Turkey Patterns

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Grade Subject

At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to create and identify simple color patterns.

(5 minutes)
  • Call students together.
  • Inform students that today they are going to be making something very special that will be made up of patterns.
  • Ask students if they remember what the word “pattern” means. Reinforce the idea that pattern means something that repeats more than once.
  • Ask students to look around the room for patterns. (They may mention a pattern on someone’s shirt, a pattern on a rug, etc.)
(5 minutes)
  • Once students have identified several patterns, pass out the apples or styrofoam balls. Explain that these will be the base of special Thanksgiving turkeys.
  • Show students how to stick the small dowel rods in the bottom of the apple or styrofoam balls to form the turkey’s legs.
  • Next, explain how the toothpicks will be placed on top of the ball or apple as the feathers. In order to decorate the toothpick feathers, beads will be placed on the toothpicks in patterned order.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students to think about what patterns they could make with the beads. Share a few ideas as a group.
  • Show how to make one pattern on a sample turkey feather.
  • Break students up into small groups to try designing one or two feathers.
  • Come back together as a group to share designs.
  • Make sure that everyone understands what they need to do and review any rules that apply during independent work periods before sending students off to complete their turkeys.
(15 minutes)
  • As students are working, any adults in the room should be circulating, answering questions, assessing, and correcting patterns as needed.
  • Playing soft music can help to set the mood for a productive working environment.
  • Early finishers can string bead patterns (optional).

Support: Working with a partner can help to scaffold this activity. Alternatively, have suggested pattern options visible for students to choose from.

Enrichment: Encourage longer patterns of four. These students can be further encouraged to figure out how to turn their whole turkey into one giant pattern!

(5 minutes)
  • Ask students: “How did you choose which bead comes next?” “What is your pattern?”
  • Observe students' turkeys to determine whether or not they were able to create accurate patterns.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Give students the opportunity to share their patterns and turkeys by encouraging them to ask questions and point out any unusual patterns they like on other students’ turkeys. (Make sure to adjust any patterns that are not correct.)
  • Display student turkeys around the room as a visual reminder of patterns.

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