Children are exceptionally sharp and clear in their understanding. I got to interact with children and their confidence level and conceptual clarity about a lot of things was quite surprising—be it geography, knowing the name of oceans around our country or knowing the neighbouring countries; or...

# patterns

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If you have a slight teeny-weeny interest in mathematics then you must have heard of Gauss’childhood story.

As an elementary student he amazed his teacher by quickly finding the sum of the integers from 1 to 100. Gauss recognized he had fifty pairs of numbers when he added the first and last number in the series, the second and second-last number in the series, and so on. For example: (1 + 100), (2 + 99), (3 + 98), . . . , and each pair has a sum of 101.

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This article is Part II of the series ‘Algebra – a language of patterns and designs.’ The approach is based on the perception of algebra as a generalisation of relationships.

In Part I, we introduced the ideas of variable, constant, term and expression via numerical patterns. Various operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication) involving terms and expressions were also studied.

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The late Shri P. K. Srinivasan had developed an approach to the teaching of algebra titled ‘Algebra – a language of patterns and designs’. I have used it for several years at the Class 6 level and found it to be very useful in making a smooth introduction to algebra, to the idea and usage of concepts such as variable and constant, to performing operations involving terms and expressions. This approach steadily progresses from studying numerical patterns to line and 2-D designs, finally leading to indices and identities.

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We often find ourselves needing to predict the future value of something based on past trends. For instance, climate scientists have been trying to estimate the future rise in ocean temperatures based on (among other things) temperature data of the last 100 or more years. Or maybe you are a cricket enthusiast and want to predict how many centuries your favourite batsman will score this year based on his scoring statistics for past years. We all probably have our own ways of arriving at an estimate! In this article, let us explore one approach.

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I am a math teacher but I have always loved poetry. My interest in these two very different subjects made me wonder if I could bring them together in my classes. I felt that the combination of poetry and math could enthuse even the most reluctant child to learn maths.

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Pascal’s triangle, which at first may just look like a neatly arranged stack of numbers, is actually a mathematical treasure trove. But what about it has so intrigued mathematicians the world over? Wajdi Mohamed Ratemi shows how Pascal's triangle is full of patterns and secrets.

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Make some beautiful cubes from beads this weekend. Easy? Are you ready for the 4 challenges at the end of the activity?

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- Read more about HumaneMaths...'my' way
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