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Fractals Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Teach students about fractals with this fun and engaging lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson that explains key ideas, then get busy applying understanding to a game and project. Take a quiz to test understanding.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Define 'fractal.'
  • Find and identify fractals in nature.
  • Create an original fractal.

Length

1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.3.3

Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

CCSS.Math.Content.3.G.A.2

Partition shapes into parts with equal areas. Express the area of each part as a unit fraction of the whole.

Materials

  • Copies of the lesson Fractals Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Mirrors
  • Paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Rulers
  • Images of fractals to share

Warm-Up and Preparation

  • Divide students into small groups and give each group a few mirrors.
  • Invite students to take turns looking into one mirror at a time, then guide them to look at one mirror with another mirror, taking turns to do so, then discussing what they see.
  • Give students plenty of time to explore using multiple mirrors in this way, then discuss:
    • What do you notice when you use one mirror to look into another?
    • How do images change when you use multiple mirrors?

Direct Instruction

  • Distribute the lesson Fractals Lesson for Kids and read the sections 'Mirrors' and 'Fractals' together.
  • Define 'fractals' and allow students to recreate the effect in the image found in the lesson with their group.
  • Look closely at the image of the Sierpinksi Triangle with students, and ask them to explain what they see to a partner, then share as a whole group. Can students identify the fractals?
  • Now read the section 'Sierpinksi Triangle' together for an explanation.
  • Read 'Fractals Found in Nature' together, and work with students to identify coordinating images.
  • Give each student a piece of paper and colored pencils, then read 'Draw Your Own Fractal' together, stepping through the process with students as they make their own fractal.
  • Have students share their fractals with their small groups. What is the same? What is different? Why are these fractals?
  • Finally, read the 'Lesson Summary,' and have students take the quiz.

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