Patterns in a Circle

Australian curriculum number (ACMNA005)

Students explore the various possibilities for constructing a circular three-pattern using two different colours. They discover that, although the three-patterns may at first look different, they form identical circular patterns. Students then create different circular four-patterns and identify similarities and differences between these patterns.

This sequence is written for students who:

  • have experience in copying, continuing and creating repeated patterns
  • are familiar with describing patterns and naming them based on the number of elements in the pattern.


Lesson 1: Three Pompoms

The task uses the context of decorating party hats to explore patterns forming a circle. Students look at different arrangements of three pompoms and what patterns are produced when the three pompoms are repeated to make a circle. Students create their own patterns using two green pompoms and one blue, and discover that all possible arrangements look the same when repeated in a circle.

Lesson 2: What About Four?

Students look at the ways four pompoms can be arranged to form a repeating pattern around the base of a party hat. Students recognise the similarities and differences between the various circular patterns.


Last updated June 12 2020.