Making patterns (year 3) art and design?

Making patterns (year 3)
Why embed aspects of shape and symmetry in
art and design?
Shape and space units from the national numeracy
strategy and QCA/DfES schemes of work art and design
unit 3b ‘Investigating pattern’
The teacher thought that an understanding
of shape and symmetry would be a useful
starting point for investigating pattern in
art and design. She felt that linking art and
mathematics would allow the children to:
• view mathematics in a creative
• extend their mathematical skills
• look at and analyse pattern in a
number of different ways.
This could have a strong impact on developing their own designs.
The following teaching sequences show how the teacher embedded
relevant objectives from mathematics in art and design. The
numbers in square brackets after the schemes of work objectives are
national curriculum key stage 2 programme of study references.
Qualifications and
Curriculum Authority
83 Piccadilly
London W1J 8QA
Telephone 020 7509 5555
Email [email protected]
Minicom 020 7509 6546
Activity objectives
Art and design unit 3b
'Investigating pattern'
Children should learn:
• to compare ideas, methods and approaches in others' work [AD 3a]
• to combine visual and tactile qualities of materials and processes and to
match these qualities to the purpose of the work [AD 4a].
Shape and space Y3
Children should learn:
• to classify and describe 2-D shapes referring to properties such as
reflective symmetry
• to make and describe shapes and patterns
• to identify and sketch lines of symmetry in simple shapes with no
lines of symmetry.
Teaching sequence
• The teacher began by showing the children examples of repeating
patterns on wrapping paper and fabric. They looked for different 2-D
shapes and symmetrical patterns and discussed how the designers
created the overall effects by rotating, reflecting and translating
shapes. They also talked about the techniques and colours used to
create these designs and made drawings of particular motifs in their
sketchbooks. They were asked to collect other examples of repeating
patterns to bring into school.
• In mathematics, they worked on aspects of shape
and space, using mirrors to find and sketch one
and two lines of symmetry and drawing the
reflection of simple 2-D shapes. They
experimented drawing round 2-D shapes and then
reflecting the drawings through one line and then
through another to make symmetrical patterns.
The teacher also drew some patterns on the board
and demonstrated rotation through 90 and 180
© QCA 2004
Making patterns (year 3)
Activity objectives
Art and design unit 3b
'Investigating pattern'
Children should learn:
• to apply their experience of materials and processes, developing
their control of tools and techniques [AD 2b]
• to adapt their work according to their views and describe how
they might develop it further [AD 3b]
• to compare ideas, methods and approaches in their own and
others’ work and say what they think and feel about them [AD 3a].
Shape and space Y3
Children should learn:
• to make and describe shapes and patterns.
Teaching sequence
• The children took their pattern making a stage further during art and
design lessons. The teacher showed them some examples of printing blocks
made by drawing a design onto a piece of thick card and glueing string
onto the design. She demonstrated how to apply paint and print a pattern
and explained that they were going to design and print their own patterns
with at least two lines of symmetry. The children designed and made their
own printing blocks based on their earlier sketches of motifs.
• They then experimented to see which colours and shapes worked well
together to create an exciting symmetrical pattern. They planned their
patterns on a sheet of A3 paper folded into eight sections.
• As they experimented the children commented on each other's results and
were encouraged to use mathematical vocabulary to describe their
patterns. The most able children discussed how their shapes could be
rotated and translated, while maintaining symmetry.
• They then printed their final colourful symmetrical patterns onto black
sugar paper using fluorescent and metallic paints. Once the prints were
dry, the children again discussed their results. They commented on the
effective use of shapes and symmetry and on which colours were the most
effective. They also discussed what their designs might be used for.
Designers of duvet covers and wrapping paper have some formidable
competition in the future!
© QCA 2004
Making patterns (year 3)
© QCA 2004
Making patterns (year 3)
How did this work enhance progress in
mathematics and art and design?
The teacher felt that, by bringing these units of work together,
learning was enhanced in both subjects. The mathematical work
sharpened the children's observations and extended their
vocabulary when they were discussing and designing patterns. The
exercise also gave their mathematical work a relevant and
motivating context. The teacher felt that in the future she would
extend the work by visiting a museum to study examples of how
pattern has been used in decorative arts and by using a computer
graphics package to create patterns by rotating, reflecting and
translating different shapes.
Resources used by the teacher in this example
• wrapping paper and textiles showing repeating patterns
• 2-D shapes
• mirrors
• black sugar paper
• fluorescent and metallic paint
• card
• glue
• string
© QCA 2004
Making patterns (year 3)