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FEB. 3, 2014

Snowflakes

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“Jen, can we have class outside today?” This was music to my ears! Miles wanted to have Pre-calculus class outside since it was snowing. While every other school in Transylvania County cancelled or called an early dismissal, the students at The Outdoor Academy embraced the weather. I responded to Miles, “Sure. Snow is very mathematical, you know.”

The Fractal Foundation defines a fractal as “infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales.” A special type of fractal is a Koch Snowflake. This fractal starts as an equilateral triangle. With each iteration of the pattern, the object becomes more and more like a snowflake. You could say a snowflake is a natural example of the Koch Snowflake fractal. Other examples of fractals patterns in nature include trees, mountain ranges, lightning, and coastal lines.

Fractal_snowflake

KochTesselationSmall

I am excited to have the world as my classroom and students who are excited about that too. I learn more about the connection between math and nature every time I venture out into the forest or up in the mountains. How cool that you can see the laws of math everywhere! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Jen Hilterman
Math Teacher