Fascinating Fractals!

It’s Maths Week Scotland in Cart Mill this week and in the Discovery Room we have been exploring the mysterious patterns in nature called fractals.

So what are fractals? A mathematician called Benoit Mandelbrot noticed similar patterns in some shapes in nature. He agreed that these natural shapes, which he  named ‘fractals’ were different from perfect shapes and didn’t look much like one another.  But one thing  they do have in common is that every fractal shape has  smaller parts that look like the whole shape.

We began our exploration into fractals this week by exploring the book Mysterious Patterns by Sarah C Campbell.

We enjoyed looking at the different pictures of fractals in nature from the book. We also investigated fractals in the form of broccoli and fern leaves. We used magnifying glasses to explore them closely and recorded our observations.

We decided we would like to create our own fractal tree patterns so we used pipe cleaners to  make our twigs and branches.

Our favourite fractals so far that we have discovered are snowflakes! We love the pretty patterns they make as they float to the ground. We had great fun making our own snowflakes on the light table this afternoon.

Tomorrow we are going to make our own frozen fractal patterns using ice!