Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Learn Poetry? Then why not Fractals in K-6?

I've said this a million times before and I'll probably say it until I'm laid to rest but we have to include the study of fractals and other kinds of wonderful mathematical patterns in the study of math at the elementary school level. If poetry is part of the CCSS then fractals certainly should be.

Here's a really interesting set of reasons for making poetry part of the study of the English Language Arts from the Atlantic.  One could almost use the same justifications for the inclusion of the study of fractals in the math curriculum.

Cynthia Linus has been promoting the study of fractals for years with a selection of interesting activities on her website; and here's a really cerebral argument for their study by Joe Pagano who even links poems and fractals.

The sad truth about math education is we tend to see it as purely utilitarian. What we learn in math has to be useful, usable, worthwhile or practicable. We never seem to recognize the value of  the aesthetics of mathematical relationships in the same way that linguists recognize the  allure of alliteration, the majesty of metaphor, the perfection of personification. We never stop to marvel at the patterns created by counting by 5s starting at 3, the way equilateral triangles can be divided into four more equilateral triangles, how when 6 circles are placed around one circle a perfect heaxagon can be formed by connecting the centers of the small spaces between the circles, or how magical it is to color in all the even numbers on a Pascall's Triangle and discover you've made a Sierpinski Triangle.

This is what turns children onto math.

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