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Activity and strategy

Recognizing and Extending Patterns with Shapes

This activity is designed to help students who are blind or visually impaired to recognize patterns and extend them.

I developed this activity to practice shape pattern identification and pattern extension using tactile discrimination skills with a 1st grade student.  We worked on ABCD and ABAC pattern but you could use these materials for any length pattern, shorter or longer as long as all the pieces you need can fit on the board.


  • Cardboard or other sturdy, smooth flat surface
  • Velcro sheet
  • Velcro (dots or small pieces)
  • Wooden shapes (I bought some from Learning Resources and some from Lakeshore Learning) in the shapes your student is working on.


  • Place 3 or more wide velcro strips on cardboard.  I suggest black for maximum contrast against the brightly colored shapes. My student is blind so I focused on the smoothness of the wood and clarity of the edges.
  • Put velcro on back of wooden shapes. Velcro dots are easiest but you can just snip smaller sized pieces. Each shape should be the same preferably high contrast color if your student is low vision. My student is blind so the same shapes were different colors.  I used circles, squares, triangles and diamonds.
  • Create incomplete patterns to be extended in top two strips. Vary space in between lines of shapes based on student need. Due to my students scanning method, I used one pattern per strip. The bottom strip is for the student pick answers from (the reservoir*).
  • Create the pattern you want your student to identify on the top strip and the options in the strips below.  Based on your students scanning ability and level, you can fit 5 or more choices underneath the pattern that needs to be identified.
  • *Put reservoir of shapes on bottom strip so they don’t get pushed off the work surface when student is looking for the correct shape to extend the pattern with.
  • Practice and reinforce positional concepts, shapes descriptions and tactile descriptions: curved, round, straight, edge, line, 3 lines, 4 lines, same, different, next, before, after, under, over, above, smooth, pointy, rough, hard.


  • Use small and large shapes to work on patterns and identification skills with this variation.
  • For students who can access color, use colors to work on patterns and identification skills with this variation.
  • Extend and identify vertical patterns.  Just rotate the display board and use the far right Velcro strip for the reservoir of shapes for the student to pick his/her choices from.
Collage of patterns with shapes

The Love Bugs cover with the title and textured hearts.

Love Bugs Book

Tactile craft with a kite and puffy clouds in the sky

Fly High Little Kite

Colored illustration of animals with alphabet letters A, B, C, D
Activity and strategy

Alphabet Objects