Abstraction of repeating patterns
Here is a typical repeating pattern made from cubes.
Replace each blue cube with a tall red block (or two red blocks joined together) and you get the same pattern.
Or replace the blocks with beads and change the colours. It is still the same pattern.
Or use drawings instead of objects. It is still the same pattern.
Even 'sit-sit-stand' repeated is the same pattern, as is this musical pattern.
To help students see that all these patterns are the same, describe the unit of repeat using initial letters — for example RRB for red-red-blue, SST for short-short-tall, and so on.
Eventually, students will see that the exact components or letters are unimportant and they will start to talk about an abstract 'AAB pattern' where the A and B can be literally anything.
Making an AAB pattern
By making the same pattern in different media, students abstract the idea of an AAB pattern.
When are two patterns the same?
Students explore the different repeating patterns they can make from 12 cubes of various colours.