**Article Summary:** "It is safe to say that the benefits of understanding patterns
open many doors where this knowledge can be applied. Of course, that is
a commonality with all forms of learning mathematical logic: there is a
deep application that can be provided that we often do not realize when
we first study the material."

Wouldn't it be great if you could predict the future? Well, some people believe that predicting the future is impossible but it would be more accurate to say that making outlandish predictions not based in logic leads to low accuracy. However, looking at the relationship of a series of patterns over time can lead to making accurate predictions of particular results. This is a common method of mathematical pattern analysis and such an analysis is important for the following reasons: Understanding mathematical patterns allows someone to identify such patterns when they first appear. After all, you can not gain the benefit of patterns if you can't see them and you can only see them if you understand them. Patterns provide a sense of order in what might otherwise appear chaotic. When you notice that things happen in a certain pattern - even something as mundane as a bus always stopping at a certain corner at 5pm - order is provided.
Patterns allow someone to make educated guesses. Much science is based on making a hypothesis and hypothoses are often based on understanding patterns. Similarly, we make many common assumptions based on recurring patterns. Understanding patterns aid in developing mental skills. In order to recognize patterns one need to have an understanding of critical thinking and logic and these are clearly important skills to develop. Patterns can provide a clear understanding of mathematical relationships. This can be seen in a very evident manner in the form of multiplication tables. 2 x2, 2 x 4, 2 x 6 are clearly examples of the relationship pattern found in multiplication. Understanding patterns can provide the basis for understanding algebra. This is because a major component of solving algebra problems involves data analysis which is deeply related to the understanding of patterns. Without being able to recognize the appearance of patterns the ability to be proficient in algebra will be limited. Understanding patterns provide a clear basis for problem solving skills. In a way, this is related to critical thinking but more directed towards mathematics specifically. Patterns essentially provide a means of recognizing the broader aspects that can be shored down in order to arrive at the specific answer to a particular problem. Knowledge of patterns is transferred into science fields where they prove very helpful. Understanding animal patterns has been used to help endangered species. Understanding weather patterns not only allows one to predict the weather but also predict the common impact of weather which can aid in devising the appropriate response in an emergency situation.
One of the lesser known aspects of patterns is the fact that they often form the basis of music. For example, there are various patterns of notes that provide the basis for proper harmony on a piano. If you don't believe patterns are important when playing a piano simply walk up to the nearest piano and start banging away randomly at the keys. You probably won't hear any songs that you recognize! Patterns provide clear insight into the natural world. While animals and certainly plants are far from thinking beings they do have certain habits that exist in patterns and understanding these behavioral patterns provides a clearer understanding of all living things. It is safe to say that the benefits of understanding patterns open many doors where this knowledge can be applied. Of course, that is a commonality with all forms of learning mathematical logic: there is a deep application that can be provided that we often do not realize when we first study the material. With understanding patterns - and other forms of math - sometimes you really need to stick with it for the long term, but with that practice comes skill. Researchers have found that pattern skills can be learned relatively quickly. |