How to Teach Pattern-recognition and Problem-solving

Design and Computational Thinking is a crucial aspect of modern education, as it helps learners develop critical thinking skills that they can apply in solving problems. It is a core component of the CAPS Coding & Robotics curriculum. One of the key strands of this process is Pattern Recognition and Problem-Solving.
This strand teaches learners to identify and analyze patterns in physical objects, drawings, and symbolic forms. They also learn to describe patterns and relationships using symbolic expressions and grids. Additionally, learners are introduced to coding and robotics, which involves identifying code patterns through sequences of lines, shapes, and objects.

What is a Pattern?

A pattern can be defined as a regular and repeated way something happens or is done. Humans have an innate ability to recognize patterns in our surroundings, from basic shapes to patterns in data.

Sequences and Grids

A sequence is an arrangement of objects in which repetition is allowed and order matters. Some sequences contain patterns, while others do not. For example, sequence 11 22 33 44 55 has an obvious pattern, while the Fibonacci sequence (1 1 2 3 5 8 13 21) has a less obvious pattern. Grids are patterns or structures made from vertical and horizontal lines crossing each other to form squares or rectangles. A chessboard is a classic example of a grid combined with a coordinate system to identify specific squares on the board.


Coding and Robotics also deals with the use of personal information, which is often moved between two points on a network. To secure this information, various software packages allow for encryption and decryption. Encryption is the process of hiding information by converting it into an alternative form (ciphertext), while decryption is discovering information or converting ciphertext into plaintext.
The earliest form of encryption dates back to 1900 BC in Egypt and has been used throughout history for military purposes. The Caesar Cipher is one of the most famous encryption systems, in which a fixed number of spaces to the right shifts standard text. Modern encryption relies heavily on prime numbers and must continually evolve to prevent attacks and deciphering techniques as computers grow more powerful.

In conclusion, teaching Pattern Recognition and Problem-Solving through Design and Computational Thinking is crucial for developing critical thinking skills in learners. By recognizing patterns and sequences and understanding cryptography and coding, learners can better solve problems and secure information in the digital age.