Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Chaos in the classroom: Exposing gifted elementary school children to chaos and fractals

  • 98 Accesses

  • 5 Citations

Abstract

A unit of study for gifted 4th and 5th graders is described on the subject of mathematical periodicity and chaos and the underlying physical processes which produce these phenomena. A variety of hands-on experiments and the use of various data analysis tools and computer aids provide students with powerful raw material for their analysis, interpretation, and understanding. The concepts of simple periodic motion (e.g., a pendulum), complex superposition of motions (e.g., the vibrations in musical instruments), and chaotic sequences (e.g., stock prices) are covered, with numerous practical examples. Opportunities to involve related activities emphasizing language arts, history, and graphic art are included. The student response to the material is documented.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Dewdney, A. K. (1986). Computer Recreations,Scientific American 255(6): 14–20.

  2. Eames, C., and Eames, R. (1989). Powers of Ten, Vol. 1. In the Films of Charles and Ray Eames (videotape), W. H. Freeman & Co., New York.

  3. Feder, J. (1988).Fractals Plenum Publishing, New York.

  4. Fletcher, N. H., and Thwaites, S. (1983). The physics of organ pipes,Scientific American 248(1): 94–103.

  5. Gleick, J. (1987).Chaos: Making a New Science Viking Penguin, New York.

  6. Hutchins, C. M. (1981). The acoustics of violin plates,Scientific American 245(4): 170–186.

  7. Jürgens, H., Peltgen, H-O., and Saupe, D. (1990).The Beauty of Fractals Lab (software for Macintosh computers), Springer Verlag, NY.

  8. Kaye, B. H. (1989).A Random Walk through Fractal Dimensions, VCH Verlagsgesellscaft, Weinheim.

  9. Mandelbrot, B. B. (1982).The Fractal Geometry of Nature, W. H. Freeman and Co., New York.

  10. Marson, R. (1983).Pendulums 34, TOPS Learning Systems, Canby, Oregon.

  11. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. (1989).Curriculum and Evaluation Standards for School Mathematics, Reston, Virginia.

  12. Peitgen, H-O., Jürgens, H., Saupe, D., and Zahlten, C. (1990).Fractals, An Animated Discussion with Edward Lorenz and Benoit B. Mandelbrot (videotape), W. H. Freeman and Co., New York.

  13. Peitgen, H-O., and Saupe, D. (Eds.) (1988).The Science of Fractal Images Springer Verlag, New York.

  14. Porter, E., and Gleick, J. (1990).Nature's Chaos Viking Penguin, New York.

  15. Rossing, T. D. (1982). The physics of kettledrums.Scientific American 247(5): 172–178.

  16. Schroeder, M. (1991).Fractals, Chaos, Power Laws W. H. Freeman, New York.

  17. Stanley, H. E., and Ostrowsky, N. (1986).On Growth and Form Nijhoff, Dordrccht.

  18. Vicsek, T. (1989).Fractal Growth Phenomena World Scientific Publishing, Singapore.

  19. Witten, T. A, and Sander, L. M. (1981). Diffusion-limited aggregation: A kinetic critical phenomenon,Physical Review Letters 47: 1400–1403.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Helen M. Adams.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Adams, H.M., Russ, J.C. Chaos in the classroom: Exposing gifted elementary school children to chaos and fractals. J Sci Educ Technol 1, 191–209 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00701363

Download citation

Keywords

  • Fractals
  • periodicity
  • chaos
  • gifted students
  • science education