Lesson plan

Color Patterns: Not Always Black and White

Zebras aren't always black and white! Your students will have fun with patterns as they make and describe their own color pattern on a zebra.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Pattern Snakes pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject View aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Pattern Snakes pre-lesson.
  • Students will be able to create and identify a pattern.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Ask students what animal names start with the letter Z.
  • Show students a picture of a zebra. Ask them what they notice about the animal, and write what students say on the board or on chart paper.
  • Ask students what they notice about the coloring of the zebra. If students do not identify that the black and white stripes form an AB pattern, help guide them by saying black, white, black, white out loud.
(5 minutes)
  • Create a model of a black and white pattern with your strips of paper.
  • Ask students to identify the pattern.
  • If students are beyond an AB pattern, create additional patterns with the colors. Example: AAB, ABB, AAAB.
  • Repeat the process of having students identify the pattern.
(5 minutes)
  • Invite a student to create a pattern. Have the student say the pattern aloud.
  • Repeat the process a few more times, until your students have a firm grasp on the concept.
  • If this lesson is being taught in small groups, give each student materials to model patterns.
(10 minutes)
  • Give each student the Color the Relaxing Zebras worksheet and crayons.
  • Tell students that they will color the stripes in a pattern of their choosing.
  • Have students tell you their patterns prior to coloring so you may check for understanding.
  • As students are coloring, continue to check in with them to make sure they are completing their pattern correctly.


  • Lay the pattern the student chooses out with the materials used for demonstration for the student to copy from. Put A or B in each stripe, or draw a line of each color in the stripe for the student to follow as a guide.


  • Challenge students to create a pattern they are just learning or are unfamiliar with.
(5 minutes)
  • Make note of whether or not students are able to create and describe a color pattern.
  • Also assess students for their ability to identify the letter Z, and if they are able to identify the sound the letter Z makes.
(5 minutes)
  • When the students have finished coloring, have them tell you the colors of their pattern. Example: My zebra has a purple and green pattern.
  • Make sure that you ask students what letter "zebra" starts with to make the phonics connection with the lesson.

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