Remind students what has been learned in previous lessons that will be pertinent to this lesson
and/or have them begin to think about the words and ideas of this lesson.
If the students have studied fractals previously, you may ask, "Do you remember fractals? What
can you tell me about them?" or "Can anyone tell me what fractals might have to do with
If students are not familiar with fractals, that is okay. They do not need knowledge of
fractals for this lesson. You can begin with questions such as, "Does anyone know what a
pattern or a sequence is?" or "Can anyone tell me a sequence that we see everyday?"
Let the students know what it is they will be doing and learning today. Say something like this:
Today, class, we will be talking about patterns. After this lesson you will understand them
better, be able to talk about them, and be able to pick them out of a process.
We are going to use the computers to learn about patterns, but please do not turn your
computers on or go to this page until I ask you to. I want to show you a little about patterns
Explain to the students how to do the assignment. You should model or demonstrate it for the
students, especially if they are not familiar with how to use our computer applets.
Open your browser to
The Hilbert Curve in order to demonstrate this activity to the students.
Ask the students what they see. They should tell you that they see a line segment. Point out
to the students that the box at the top of the applet tells you that the line segment has a
size of 1.0 units.
Explain to the students that when you press the button to go to the next stage, a process will
take place or that the applet will do something to the line segment on the screen.
Press the button to proceed to the next stage. Ask the students to describe what they see.
They should tell you that there is now a rectangle in the middle of the line segment standing
Ask the students to describe the lengths of the segments in the rectangle and the line. Help
the students to see that the new figure is made up of 9 line segments that are all the same
length. Point out to the students that the box at the top of the applet tells us that there
are 9 line segments of size 1/3.0 units.
Ask the students what 1/3.0 means. They should tell you that it means one-third. Ask them,
"One-third of what?" Help the students see that these line segments on the screen are
one-third of the length of the
original line segment.
Have the students guess what will happen when you press the button to go to the next stage.
Explain to them that the process that happened before will happen to every line segment in the
Press the button to go to the next stage. Ask the students if they are surprised. Have a
student explain why the picture looks as it does. Point out the box at the top of the applet
that tells the students how many segments there are in the figure and how long the segments
Ask the students, "Does it make sense that when we divided each of the line segments in the
previous stage into three parts, that these line segments should be 1/9 in length?" Have a
student explain why this is true.
Ask, "What do I need to do to answer this first question on our data table?"
Let the students take the class through the steps to answer the questions for the second
applet. If they seem to be having trouble, give them a hint. If they do something
incorrectly, see if they find their own mistake, or gently suggest they try another way.
Allow the students to work on their own to complete the rest of the data table worksheet.
Monitor the room for questions and to be sure that the students are on the correct web site.
Students may need help with the questions involving finding areas on the last three applets.
You may choose to let the students work in groups to determine a method for finding the area
of the requested spaces. If the question seems too difficult, allow the students to move on to
another applet or complete the challenging questions for extra credit.
You may wish to bring the class back together for a discussion of the findings. Once the students
have been allowed to share what they found, summarize the results of the lesson. You may make a
list of characteristics for the students to keep in their notebooks.
This lesson can be rearranged in several ways.
You may choose to only use a couple of the computer applets for this lesson.
You may assign each of the five applets to a different group that would report their finding
back to the class.
You may invent your own way of using this lesson to suit the needs of your students.
This lesson can be followed by
Patterns in Pascal's Triangle, which will allow students to continue to build the skills necessary to identify patterns.
An Introduction to Sequences will introduce students to sequences of numbers unrelated to geometric shapes or fractals.