Thursday, June 12, 2014

Multiplication and Exponent Craft for Tweens

  Recently, I was given an invitation to put together some learning projects for a couple of middle school girls.  How fun! They want princess projects, so I suggested doing these stain glass castle windows, done in fractal patterns.  I was so excited when I received these pictures of the work they did!  I thought you would like to see them too.

To make a fractal pattern, choose a shape and repeat it systematically.  In the example above, she chose squares and put a smaller square on each corner.  Then, she put more squares on the corners of those squares.

Doing fractals inspires mathematical thinking on many levels.  In this case, I was hoping to reinforce the students ' sense of multiplication as they think through how many shapes are needed for the next level. "If I have four squares with four corners, I will need 4x4 more squares."  Count the shapes above to find the answer to "4x4=?"

 Since this is practice in repeatedly multiplying by the same number, it also gives a nice introduction to exponential powers.  Exponential powers are expressed with a "^" .  In the example below, we see a three cornered object repeated four times.  In math terms 3^4, or three to the fourth power.  Count the triangles to find the answer to 3^4=?    My son says this one looks like castles.

My inspiration for the "stain glass" came from Jean Van't Hul at The Artful Parent

I got excited about fractals while taking an on-line class at Moebius Noodles, Math Adventures. The class is over, but I found the class so useful I also downloaded Moebius Noodles: Adventurous Math for the Playground Crowd to our Kindle.  You may want to check it out.

What projects have made you excited recently?

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I can't wait to hear what you have to say! Thanks for sharing.