We looked at fractals, and even made our own! This session was led by Teri Willard and Mandy McDaniel. We cut and folded pieces of paper to illustrate the first four “phases” in the iteration for a fractal. We used our models to investigate a number of patterns, such as counting the number of rectangular faces and determining their measurements at each step, to finding the total area or volume of the fractal. That involved geometric series. We discussed how this activity could go into a classroom and the many things that a student might get from it. This was a “low floor, high ceiling” activity—anyone can have fun making the paper models, and the mathematical investigation can go as far as you want it to go.

At the end we also made our own tangrams.

For more information, read Do–It–Yourself Fractal Functions by Janet Shiver, Teri Willard, and Mandy McDaniel, published in The Mathematics Teacher Vol. 110, No. 9 (May 2017), pp. 694-701.

Photos from the session:

Activity sheet from the session