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Exploring Maths with Pattern Blocks

August 7, 2013 · 23 Comments · Finding Out, Maths

pattern block manWe have been using pattern blocks to explore angles, parallel lines, to create symmetrical patterns and to solve some number problems. A pattern block set contains triangles, hexagons, squares, two different rhombi and trapeziums.

This week we created pattern block people and Mrs S challenged us to work out their age. The clue she gave us was:

question - resized

We then made lots of pattern block people and had some fun searching the room for the oldest and youngest people created. Take a look at all our people and see if you agree with the ages that we have calculated.

We had one small problem. Mrs S forgot to tell us to put away the tan rhombi and the orange square. It is harder to calculate the age of our people if we use these shapes. One person used a square and some of us wanted to use the tan rhombus for hair or feet. At first we thought that one tan rhombus was equal to one green triangle. When we used an online pattern block site we found that this was not quite true. Instead of giving up trying to work out the age of the pattern block people that contain these shapes we learnt to use a new maths symbol. Mathematicians use this symbol show that something is not quite equal.

approx equal to

What will happen if we use too many tan rhombi in creating a pattern block person? Did you spot the one person who created something for their pattern block person to use? What was it? If Mrs S changed the value of the red trapezium to 6 what would be the value of a green triangle? Please leave a comment telling us your thoughts.



  • Sabastian

    Hello Class,

    I think we have all been enjoying the pattern block maths with Mrs S. Using the pattern blocks is making maths even more fun! Also it’s just great because we are having fun while were learning. I personally liked the challenges Mrs S has given us. Working out what the shapes were was a little hard, but we pulled through.

    As you can see Mrs S took photos of our block men. Mine is on slide 8. My men are 30,30 and 18.My favourite shape that we used is the rhombus. I don’t really know why I like the rhombi, I like how they both look like a diamond. I know the blue rhombus is two times the size of the triangle.

    I think that if we use lots more rhombi it will keep on making little extra bits that will eventually be enough to make a second triangle.

    How many rhombi do you think it will take to make a second triangle?

    Happy Blogging :)

    From Sabastian

  • Jessie

    Hi bloggers,

    I really enjoyed using the pattern blocks, making people, their homes and making patterns. When I make patterns I often do something with the blocks that is hard to explain but I’ll try. I think that if there is a spot to put a block I will do it, but that doesn’t sound very interesting, but, as I said before, it is hard to explain. Mrs S, I might tell you sometime, but I will have to use the blocks, but you might not find it interesting.
    When we had to make the triangle worth 2, that meant that we had to double everything else. Even if for the triangle all that you had to do was add 1, you didn’t add 1 for every other one.

    I think that if you had a lot of the rombi then you have to add a year or more. Mrs S, please don’t make us work out about adding years with lots of rhombi! When someone writes some maths problems I don’t feel that I can look!

    If you changed the value of the trapeziun to 6 then I think that you would have to change the value of the triangle to 2.


  • Rae

    Hi class and bloggers,

    First, I really enjoyed making the pattern block men. It was fun.

    Second I found the pattern object that the pattern block man can use Django made a bike out of the pattern blocks.

    1 of my favourite pattern block men was the yoda one. I liked it how they added the walking stick.

    I found out that a lot of the pattern block men where between the age of 20-40.

    From Rae

  • Thomas

    Hey class!

    I really enjoyed creating things with the pattern blocks! I think everyone enjoyed it! If you use too many tan rhombi you might actually be able to make a shape! We all made something different like Sabastian put an afro on his man, Django made Yoda and Montana made a person with VERY long arms!

    Thanks guys
    From Thomas=)

  • georgie

    Hi class,
    Well I think if you keep on using the tan rhombi you would eventually have to add a year of age to the pattern block man, because the left over shape would just get bigger depending on how may tan rhombi you used.

    Yes I did spot the one person who made something for his pattern block person to use. I think it was Django because of how he made a bike for his pattern block person to use.

    Also if you made the trapezium the value of 6 the green triangle would be the value of 2.

    yours truly,

  • Django

    Hi class

    Very hard to get the right amount of shapes but we got there in the end. Lots of people seem to like my yoda shape. t
    The green triangle would turn out to be a two because everything changes to double its number.

    signing out Django

  • Elizabeth

    Hi Class
    I did find an object that a pattern block man could use. I saw a bike. Is that what you saw?

    If Mrs S changed the value of the red trapezium to six the value of the green triangle would be 2.

    I liked making things with the pattern blocks especially when we were allowed to make extra accessories for our families. I made an elephant and a giraffe.

    From Elizabeth

    • Mrs S

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for leaving a great comment on this blog post.
      Yes I did see a bike.
      Were you able to calculate the age of your elephant and giraffe?

      Mrs S

      • Elizabeth

        Hi Mrs S
        I calculated the age of the giraffe, it was 42.
        Thanks for replying to my comment.
        From Elizabeth

  • Jordan

    Hello Class,
    It was really fun when we made pattern bloc kman.
    Altogether he was 30 years old.

    From Jordan

  • Sam

    Hi everyone

    If you use too many tan rhombi the age of the block person would become more approximate.

    Slide 10 shows a block Yoda with a block person and a bike. If Mrs S changed the value of the red trapezium to 6 then the triangle’s value would change to 2.

    From Sam

  • zac

    Hi class
    If you changed the value of the red trapezuium to six the value of the green triangle would be two. And yes I did see something made for a pattern block person. It was a bike.

    kind regards

  • Angus

    Hi Class
    Django’s was the one pattern block man that had a object for his pattern bock man. He made Yoda with a walking stick. I made a dog, 5 children and a penguin.
    Thankyou for reading this comment.

    Yours sincerely Angus

  • Ben

    Hi class,
    If Mrs s changed the value of the red trapezium to 6 the green triangle would be 2. If you look on slide 26 you will see my poeple.

    from Ben

  • montana

    Hello bloggers,

    Because Mrs Smith did change the value of the trapezium to six instead of three then the triangle is now worth two instead of one.

    from Montana.

  • Lucy

    Hello bloggers,
    If Mrs Smith changed the value of the red trapezium to six, the green triangle would be worth two.

    Kind Regards Lucy

  • louis

    Hi class
    If it used the rhombi it wouldn’t have a real age . Same with the square.
    But with yoda [on slide 10 ] he is holding a rhombi and it is not attached to him so it doesn’t count.
    from Louis

  • james

    Hello fellow bloggers

    It would not not have an actual age.
    Yes I did, someone made a bike for pattern block man and someone made yoda.
    The green triangle would be 2.

    sencerly James

  • Max H

    Hi class
    If Ms S changed the value of the red trapezium to 6 the triangle will be 2. If you look my people are on slide 18. 2 are 30 and two are 20 and one is 19.

  • Amy

    Hello Class and Fellow Bloggers,

    Using the pattern blocks was fun. We made a lot of interesting patterns.

    If we used too many tan rhombi we would make it the same amount as a triangle.

    I saw two things created to be used my someone’s pattern block man. I saw a car and a walking stick.

    If the red trapezium had a value of 6 then the green triangle would have a value of two.

    Can you make a pattern block man older than 40?

    Regards Amy

    • Mrs S

      Hi Amy

      Thanks for leaving a great comment on our post.

      I do think that you can make a pattern block man older that 40. Today when were were working on our families there were a few people who had a man older than 40 and they need to take away blocks so that the man was exactly equal to 40 years of age.

      What age do you think would be hardest to make?

      Mrs S

      • Amy

        Hi Mrs S,

        Thanks for replying to my comment.

        I think that the hardest age would depend on how many pattern blocks you have. I think that 70 would be a pretty hard age to make.

        I made a pattern block village with 2 of my friends. Can anyone make a village that is aged exactly 100?


    • Lucy

      Hello Amy,
      I agree that playing with the pattern blocks was fun! What did you make when you finished what Miss Smith wanted us to do? I made a giant flower with Max H, Albert Einstien and a dog. Max H and I were upset when we had to pack the pattern blocks away.

      Kind Regards Lucy

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