# When Math And Art Meet, Beautiful Fractals are Discovered

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This post originally appeared on the blog Education with DocRunning.

I love to make cross-curricular connections. Often the easiest link is between math and science, but the intersection between art and math can be fascinating. One of my students’ favorite S.T.E.A.M. lessons is discovering fractals. Fractals are a never-ending pattern.  Fractal numbers repeat a pattern and never end.  It could be 3.33333 or  … 5.162162162 or … 242424242424 or…

Fractals occur throughout nature. To introduce students to fractals, we began with a series of examples of fractals in nature.

You might also share pine cones, which if you collect at the right time of year, can provide a hands-on exploration.

When I first was planning fractal activities, I had thought we would construct Koch snowflakes. I tried them myself. They are not easy.

Knowing my students, I decided that fractals could be much more fun and engaging. So, I introduced some examples of visual fractals such as the Sierpinski Triangle and the Pythagorean Fractal.

Then, students decided whether they wanted to try an existing fractal or wanted to make their own. My talkative class turned silent as they focused their attention on the creation of the complex fractals. A large variety of fractals were created including Sierpenski triangles, box fractals, and more.

I challenged the students to explore the algorithms used to create their designs or the other ones, such as Sierpinski’s triangle. I love to use this activity and other art/math activities at centers, before vacation, or after exams. For a complete guide and lesson with student handouts, you might like the Art of Fractals.

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Education with DocRunning is a secondary teacher who puts students at the center of her teaching.  From inner-city schools to gifted programs, she has experience teaching 6th – 12th grade.  She holds a Master’s in Education and a PhD in Education Policy. And of course, she runs daily.  Sign up to hear about the latest in free resources and save 20% on new resources.  You can also visit the blog, Facebook Page, Pinterest, and Store.