Thursday, June 12, 2014

Multiplication and Exponent Craft for Tweens

So far, most of the projects you see on this blog are for kindergarten and younger, because those are the ages found at my house.  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 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 Click here to read how to do it.

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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