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Repeating Patterns

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Team Digital

Basics on the topic Repeating Patterns

In this video on repeating patterns Year 2

Nico and Nia are thinking about a birthday present for their friend. Nia suggests a necklace like the one Nico is wearing but Nico thinks it is a little bit boring. Nia has an idea about how they could make the present a bit more interesting by using geometric repeating patterns. Let’s join them and learn more about creating repeating patterns using shapes.

Repeating patterns definition

Repeating patterns are patterns where elements are repeated as the pattern extends. For example, we can make simple repeating patterns with a green circle, then add a red circle, then another green circle and so on to create our repeating pattern.


We could also make 2D shape repeating patterns with the same colour and shape, just using different sizes. We could start with a small square, then add a large square, then another small square and so on.


Repeating geometric patterns

Nico and Nia have some 3D shape beads to make their necklaces. When we make repeating patterns in mathematics with shapes we can use different shapes or the same shape. Let’s look at these examples of repeating patterns shapes.

Nico starts his pattern with a cube shaped bead. He then add a sphere shaped bead before adding another cube shaped bead. We can see his repeating pattern here.


Nia decides to use the same bead in her pattern- a green cylinder. To make it a repeating pattern, she decides to turn her bead. Nia makes a quarter turn clockwise each time to continue her repeating pattern.


Repeating shape patterns KS1- summary

Today we learnt about repeating patterns. We learnt that you can make repeating patterns with shapes. * You can make a repeating pattern using different shapes and alternating them. * You can make repeating patterns using the same shape but turning it to create different repeating patterns.

Repeating patterns worksheets and more

To continue learning about repeating patterns, have a look at our repeating patterns worksheet as well as our repeating patterns KS1 interactive exercises and activities.

Transcript Repeating Patterns

Nico and Nia are thinking about their friend's birthday that is coming up soon. They're not sure what the best present for their friend would be? "Why don't we make them a necklace like that one?" "This one is a bit boring though." "Well, we could make this new one a bit more interesting!" Nia has an idea to make the present a bit more exciting by using : "Repeating Patterns" We see patterns everywhere. Patterns can be found in nature in the clothes we wear and around our homes too! Sometimes patterns are made with parts that are different colours or different sizes. As you can see, patterns can also be made with shapes. Nico and Nia have quite a lot of beads that they could use to make their friend a present. Let's look at the different types of beads they have. Which beads could they use to make a repeating pattern? We could start by choosing two different shaped beads and making a repeating pattern with them. Let's take this cube and sphere. Nico could start by threading a cube shaped bead onto the necklace, then a sphere shaped bead. He could then go back to a cube and then another sphere. To continue his pattern, what should Nico thread on next? A cube! And then? A sphere! Wow, this necklace is looking great! Nia has another idea. She thinks she could choose ONE shape of bead and then use this same shape again and again, but still make a repeating pattern. Nia has chosen this cylinder shaped bead. She starts by threading it onto the necklace this way. But then she turns the bead and threads it the other way. Nia has made a QUARTER turn CLOCKWISE with her bead. She can then do this again to thread it on the other way to continue her repeating pattern. And again, and again! Nia is really getting stuck into making her necklace, but hang on, has she got it all right? Nia got a bit carried away and thinks she might have made a mistake, can you spot where she has gone wrong with her repeating pattern? THIS bead should be the other way round! There we go. Nia's repeating pattern is looking great! Nico and Nia are feeling very pleased with their necklaces so far. They just have one more idea they would like to try. This time they are going to start with this sphere shaped bead. They are then going to thread a cuboid shaped bead on this way, and then turn it so it is facing this way. Nico and Nia turned this bead to make a pattern. How have they turned the bead this time? The bead has made a quarter turn ANTI-clockwise. Wow! The necklace is VERY long now! Before we see who the present is for, let's think about what we have learnt. We can make repeating patterns with shapes. We can use two different shapes to make a repeating pattern like this. We can also use the SAME shape but turn it in different directions like this! This bead made a QUARTER turn CLOCKWISE to continue the pattern. What sort of pattern would you make? Comment below with your ideas! Now, let's go and see who the birthday present is for. Ahh! So that is why the necklace had to be so long!

Repeating Patterns exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Repeating Patterns.
  • Which group of beads should Nico use next?


    Look at the beads that are on the necklace so far. These same beads must be in the correct group.

    What is the pattern being made on the necklace so far? What comes after the last bead?


    The next three shapes will be a green circle, an orange square and then a green circle.

    The necklace followed the pattern green circle, orange square, green circle, orange square etc., ending with an orange square, meaning the next bead must be a green circle.

  • Which ones are repeating patterns?


    Remember, a repeating pattern repeats. Do the shapes appear again in the pattern? If so, it could be a repeating pattern.

    A repeating pattern can be made with different shapes or it can be made with the same shape turned.

    There are two correct options.

    1. This is a repeating pattern. It is made by turning the pink rectangle a quarter-turn clockwise each time.
    2. This is not a repeating pattern. The circles may repeat but they do so randomly.
    3. This is a repeating pattern. It follows the pattern of star, green square, red square etc..
    4. This is not a repeating pattern. This is a row of random shapes.
  • Which beads should Nia use next?


    Look at the last bead in the pattern. What has come after this bead before? What colour and orientation?

    Once you have the first next bead, think about which one comes after that in the pattern. What colour and orientation?

    1. The next bead is the purple triangle in this orientation. It has made a half-turn from the first bead.
    2. The second next bead is an orange triangle.
    3. The third next bead is an orange triangle that has made a half-turn from the one before it.
  • Can you sort the beads to continue this pattern?


    Look at the bottom shape, what is it and which orientation is it in? Find it earlier in the pattern and look at what comes next.

    The green rhombus makes a quarter-turn when it repeats. Look carefully at the orientation of the shapes to continue the pattern correctly.


    The repeating pattern is green rhombus, green rhombus that has made a quarter turn, purple square, green square. This then repeats.

    The next four shapes are:

    1. Green rhombus that has made a quarter-turn.
    2. Purple square.
    3. Green square.
    4. Green rhombus.

  • Can you continue the pattern?


    Work out the pattern, and say the shapes and colours out loud. What comes next?

    The pattern finishes with a blue square. What comes after a blue square?

    Look carefully at the orientation of the shapes in the pattern. It is a repeating pattern so you will need to find the shape that is in the same orientation.


    The next shape would be an orange rectangle in this orientation, as that is what follows a blue square.

  • How has the pattern been made?


    Remember which direction is clockwise and which is anti-clockwise.

    If a bead has made a half-turn, it looks like it is upside down compared to the previous one. If a bead has made a full turn, it looks the same as the previous one.

    If a bead has made a quarter-turn, it can look like it is on its side compared to the previous bead. For example, this cylinder makes a quarter-turn clockwise to continue the pattern.


    The shapes in the top pattern were making a quarter-turn clockwise each time. You can see this as the heart makes a quarter-turn to the right, or clockwise, each time.

    The shapes in the bottom pattern were making a half-turn each time. You can see this as the 'A' looks like it is turning upside down, then the right way up each time.