Education Technology

Exploring Self-Similar Shapes

Published on 10/02/2004

Activity Overview

With the included programs students can design paths and have the calculator increase the complexity of the path to simulate the generation of a fractal.

Before the Activity

Students can be presented with examples of fractals, such as Koch's Snowflake or Sierpinski's Triangle before the activity begins and the idea of self-similarity can be examined by looking at how they are formed.

During the Activity

Once you begin the activity, students will each need a copy of the two attached programs, TURTLE and EXTEND. The included .doc file is a good resource for you to use to familiarize yourself with these before you begin. If the students choose the scale of each successive path well, they can save a series of pictures each showing increased complexity similar to the series in the .doc file.

After the Activity

Review student answers:

  • As a class, discuss questions that appeared to be more challenging
  • Re-teach concepts as necessary