The Curriculum of the Steiner School - Class 2

Notes and Lesson Plans

Shapes & Number Patterns
updated August 20, 2021

Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!

This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.

This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your second grade year. Enjoy!

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Shapes & Number Patterns
for Class 2

Pinterest - Renee Schwartz
My curated collection of visuals! Browse sample main lesson book pages, watercolor paintings, chalkboard drawings, etc. for Shapes & Number Patterns, which I have under Waldorf Math Misc.

Note: Because these are the math materials that I have on hand, I started this block with a heavy Montessori slant.

Montessori materials that I see as compatible with the Waldorf Shapes & Number Patterns block:

    Colored Bead Bar Material

    Short Bead Chains

    Bead Bar Stamps & Colored Pencils

    Decanomial Bead Bar Box

    Decanomial Paper

    Hundred Board & Control Chart

Other Helpful Links

Books to Buy

Activity One - Patterns

    two things make a pattern. they have a Rule and they Repeat

    act out patterns -- and not patterns (no Rule, no Repeat) -- with your body

    read Pattern Fish
    after the first fish explain how patterns are written using letters, use a white board and marker to demonstrate, then let students volunteer to come up to the board and write the pattern for each fish as you read the book, find the patterns in the illustrations each time

Activity Two - Colored Bead Bars and Skip Counting

    review that patterns have a Rule and they Repeat

    call out patterns using letters and have students create a corresponding series of movements with their bodies

    show Colored Bead Bar Material, use the Stamps and Colored Pencils to stamp a series of 3-bars on a sheet of plain paper, remind students that we are counting by 3s and not by 1s and hold up the 3-bar and the 1-bar to make this clear, write the multiple next to the third bead each time... showing how to skip count

    ask students to look at these multiples of 3 and see if they see any patterns

    repeat this with the 2-bar stamp

    they will find that the multiples of 2 are all even and end in a pattern (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) and then they will probably look back and see that the multiples of 3 alternate between odd and even

    give them time to stamp any bead bar they want as many times as they want on their own paper and write down the multiples and look for patterns

    introduce the Decanomial Paper, lay out 1x1, 1x2, 1x3, 1x4, etc. using the colored bead bars and show the students where this is on the paper, color the beads red

    repeat with the 2-bars, coloring them green

      Note: I have the Checker Board Beads (includes numbers 1-9).

      And for this you can always supplement them with the golden 10 bars from the Golden Bead Material.

      However you can also buy a complete Decanomial Bead Bar Box which has enough bars from 1-10 to allow you to build the entire decanomial... which is wonderful! It is called The Jeweled Layout and it's just stunning, and a very satisfying work for children. If you can afford it, it is well worth buying the box ($105.99 on Amazon).

    Another Note of Explanation: I love the Montessori math materials but I also love how Waldorf introduces the operations with the math gnomes! To reconcile this, we used the Waldorf first grade stories of the gnomes and gems and then went into the Montessori math materials, using the golden beads and the colored bead bars as our manipulatives to solve problems. Golden beads are obviously gold, which we expect gnomes to be mining for.

      Red (1) is rubies.
      Dark green (2) is emeralds.
      Light pink (3) is tourmaline.
      Yellow (4) is topaz.
      Light blue (5) is turquoise.
      Light purple (6) is amethyst.
      White (7) is diamond.
      Brown (8) is agate.
      Dark blue (9) is sapphire.

    I also like how Montessori has color coding for place value, which is used in many Elementary classroom materials like the Stamp Game and Decimal Stamp Game and Checker Board and Decimal Checker Board, among many others. To reconcile this with Waldorf, you can simply have the colors be containers containing a certain number of gems, and you can start writing the digits in the appropriate color coding from the very beginning. One gem is in a green bag. Ten gems are held in a blue basket. One hundred gems are held in a red box. One thousand gems are held in a green crate. Etc.

    One more point about Waldorf and Montessori. The Montessori fraction material is all divisions of the red #1, so they are a perfect fit with the choleric Mr. Divide who shares things out fairly. There are Fraction Squares as well as Cut-Out Labeled Fraction Circles, and all are red.

Activity Three - Building the Decanomial

    repeat with the remaining numbers up to 10x10

    make observations: find that 2x7 (for example) is the same rectangle as 7x2, but rotated

    find the square numbers!

    it is useful to build this horizontally and then build it again vertically to see that it makes the same design each time

Activity Four - The Garden Story

Activity Five - Making Stars with String

    take a 12 inch square cork tile and lay a dinner plate down on it upside down. put finish nails in all around the plate, spacing evenly, so that there are 10 nails. use cotton craft thread (NOT 6 strand embroidery floss) to weave the stars for each multiple, as seen here.

    I used the Montessori colors for each colored bead bar, to keep the concepts consistent. I really liked doing this because we could tell just by looking which star it was! These are

    • 1 - red
    • 2 - dark green
    • 3 - light pink
    • 4 - yellow
    • 5 - light blue
    • 6 - light purple
    • 7 - white
    • 8 - brown
    • 9 - dark blue

    I created a floss bobbin with each color for the string art. make sure there's a little starting loop tied off so that they can start at zero, and wind it on the bobbin with the other end of the string first and ending with the loop... or the student can't get to it!

    you should get something that looks like this
    (illustrations are also found in Barbara Dewey's book)

    you can also have students draw their own number wheels for multiplication in chalk, either on the chalkboard or outside on the sidewalk

    Henning Anderson's book Active Arithmetic!: Movement and Mathematics Teaching in the Lower Grades of a Waldorf School suggests having 12 children stand in a circle and use long pieces of string to form these stars. This book is available to download for free as a PDF from the Online Waldorf Library.

Activity Six - Hundred Board

    find the patterns in the Hundred Board

    sort the tiles into piles by the digit in the tens place, then take each stack and organize by the digit in the units place and lay them down on the board one row at a time

    check your work with the Control Chart

Activity Seven - Multiplication Wheel

Activity Eight - Prime Numbers

    What numbers are NOT showing up in the skip counting patterns? Begin to build a sense of prime and composite numbers.

    Bean Thirteen

    by Matthew McElligott

    if you have the Montessori materials, you could use the Algebraic Pegboard for this

    or, just arrange beans or gems in an array

Activity Nine - Geometry and Spatial Sense

    other Shapes activities could include working with tangrams (Barbara Dewey's book)

    I also recommend from Math for Smarty Pants:

      "Don't Make a Triangle" (pp.44-45)
      "There's More Than One Way to Fold a Cube" (p.46)
      "Geometric Guess and Check" (p.47)
      "Testing Your Geometric Memory" (p.49)

    as well as from Hands-On Math:

      "Symmetry Dominoes" (pp.242-244)
      "Block Structures" (p.245)
      "Changing the Perspective" (pp.245-246)
      "Matching Stacks" (pp.246-248)
      "Trace-and-Turn" (pp.253-254)
      "Rotation Concentration" (pp.255-256)

    having the Montessori Volume Box with 250 Cubes in the classroom would be useful for this! but for just a pair of students in a homeschool setting, using 8 plain blocks from the Cuboro Standard marble maze set works fine for the "Changing the Perspective" activity

    the next Math block for second grade is Math Fun: Puzzles and Games, which builds on this even further

If you are a Waldorf homeschooler or classroom teacher interested in using Montessori materials in the Waldorf environment, and you have questions, I'm happy to schedule a phone or Zoom call! Click on Consulting to email me.

My blog posts from teaching this topic:

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