Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Looking at Learning ... Again, Part 2

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What Is a Pattern?

Part 4 – Why Does It Matter If Mathematics Can Describe the Patterns of Nature?

Look at the coat patterns of the zebra and the leopard. Why do zebras always have stripes and leopards have their distinct spot pattern? It took a mathematician to develop a model that helps biologists predict what coat pattern will occur. If we can represent a natural phenomenon mathematically we can make predictions that may benefit the earth. Now that we can describe cloud shapes and movements we are better able to develop computer simulations to improve weather forecasting. Making predictions that are more specific allows us greater confidence and accuracy.

We can describe the pattern created by contaminants entering a river if we use mathematical models. Why might it be useful to describe patterns like this?

Think of other patterns in nature that might be described mathematically and might lead to useful predictions.

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