Pattern Power

Introductory exercises in the Pattern Power class were not only fun to watch but quite engaging. Course instructor Katheryne Patrick placed four different images on a grid for students to analyze and defend why one is different from the other three. With the letters S, X, Y, and Z placed on the grid, Nathan B. made a great observation that “X, Y, and Z can all be used as coordinates,” making the “S” an outlier. Another grid showed a rectangle, a square, a diamond, and a pentagon. Students pointed out many reasons for outliers such as one shape had a pattern inside it, another shape had five sides versus four, and yet another shape did not have the same size sides. These warmup activities were well received and opened minds to understanding there is often more than one right answer.

At the request of students from the previous week, Ms. Patrick provided a puzzle using Morse code. Students had to decipher the secret message that turned out to be a quote from Walt Disney, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Previous class topics tied math, art, cryptology to patterns. Today they discussed number stations. When asked if they were familiar, a couple of hands went up. For most students, this was not a familiar concept. As explained, a numbers station is a shortwave radio station using formatted numbers, which are used by intelligence officers in foreign countries. That’s right – real life spy stuff. Students watched a quick podcast giving them an idea of how scheduled patterns are used to transmit information.

The second half of the class was spent in the computer lab working on their final project. Each student had already picked a topic to research and talk about on one of the last sessions of camp. Subjects varied greatly.  Sophia chose “Animal Camouflage” and Maddie is doing “Chain of Responsibility” while Caleb decided on “Tessellations in Art and Nature.”

Ms. Patrick has enjoyed seeing the students take the assignment and run with their topics. She gave them some ideas and appreciated their “higher order of thinking” as she said. As patterns take on many forms, the students are not only learning about patterns but how to think critically.

2024 SCATS Pattern Power