Standards for mathematical content

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PRACTICE TASK: Pattern Block Pictures


pproximately 2 days


MCC1.G.1 Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.
MCC1.G.2 Compose two-dimensional shapes (rectangles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, half-circles, and quarter-circles) or three-dimensional shapes (cubes, right rectangular prisms, right circular cones, and right circular cylinders) to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite shape.
MCC1.MD.4. Organize, represent, and interpret data with up to three categories; ask and answer questions about the total number of data points, how many in each category, and how many more or less are in one category than in another.

  • How can a shape be described?

  • How do shapes fit together and come apart?

  • What makes shapes different from each other?


  • Pattern blocks (in bags for each student)

  • Pattern Block Tally Chart/Story recording sheet

  • Plain paper (one per child)

  • Crayons/markers
  • Precut shapes for demonstration ( triangle, rectangle, trapezoid and square rectangle)

Large Group, Partners

Part I

Gather students in a common area. Display a precut construction paper triangle, rectangle (that is not a square), trapezoid and a square rectangle. Tell the students you have clues and you would like for them to match the clue to the shape. Give each pair of student’s one clue. Have them read the clue and place under the correct shape. Read and discuss answers. Many statements that fit under square will also fit under rectangle because all squares are rectangles. Additional statements could be added about where we find these shapes in the real world.

has four sides and four corners

Ex. This clue could go under square, trapezoid or rectangle.

Part II

On the board, model combining shapes to create new shapes. Next give each student a zippered plastic bag of pattern blocks. Have students practice putting shapes together to create a new shape. Have students trace the pattern blocks on paper and discuss attributes of each shape. Be sure to name the number of sides, number of corners, as well as shapes that can be combined to create other shapes. For example “I combined two squares to make a rectangle.” If a white board is available, you could do this on the white board using the link below.

Allow students a few minutes to practice tracing shapes. Have students create a picture using at least a dozen of the pattern block shapes. Encourage students to combine multiple pieces together so that the picture is made up of pattern block shapes touching. You may want to provide an example for students to see how pattern blocks can be combined. Once students have created their pictures, have them trace one shape at a time before removing it from the design.

Part III

Close lesson with discussion of modeling an understanding of the fact that you used several shapes to create a picture that is not a regular polygon. That it is composed of several shapes. Display your picture and have students name the shapes used and discuss the attributes of each.

Part IV

Using the Pattern Block Recording Sheet, have students place a tally mark to record the number of each shape used to create their picture. Then students should write a story about their picture.

As a class, students share their individual shape totals in order to create a class tally chart. Students could then generate questions that could be answered using this information.

  • Which shape did you use the most of? Least of?

  • What are you noticing about these shapes? What do they have in common? How are they different?

  • Did any of your shapes combine to form other shapes?

  • Which shapes are easy to combine? Why do you think this? Are any hard to combine? Why?

  • What else did you discover?


  • Have students create questions about their own shape tally chart and create a graph about their picture. “Which shape did you have more/fewer of? How many more/fewer?”

  • Students could glue shapes down and create shape again on top. This would help them as they count tallies for the chart.

  • If tracing is too time consuming for some students, skip this part and give them the precut shapes. Ask the student to identify the name of the shape and the number of sides it has verbally.

  • Students may also make their pattern block picture and tally the number of shapes before gluing them down. This will allow the student to sort them into like groups first.

has four sides

has 2+1


has more than 3 sides

has four


has two straight sides

can be made by putting two triangles together

has fewer sides than a trapezoid

has three


is the shape of a window

has three



Pattern Block Tally Chart

rectangle 1610

autoshape 1609

autoshape 1611

autoshape 1612

autoshape 1613autoshape 1614

My Pattern Block Story

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Grade Level Files -> Elagse rl. 9: Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures
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Grade Level Files -> This is not meant to be printed off and given as a test…this document is to give you ideas of how this standard might be assessed. Please use these as an example when you are developing your own formative assessments
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Grade Level Files -> Troup County School System Science Curriculum Map Fourth Grade – Second Quarter The underlined standard/element links to examples of formative assessment

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