Mandelbrot and Observation

I’ve been having a discussion with a dear friend regarding technology in the Casa classroom (3 to 6).  One of the things it has challenged me to think about is my emphasis on observation.  The beauty of the natural world and its complexity can’t be observed solely on a flat screen.  I was thinking about this deep observation and math (specifically AV’s six month obsession with Fibonacci sequencing in plants) this morning when my husband called out from the other room that Mandelbrolt was dead.

One of my favorite quotes of his is:  “If you cut one of the florets of a cauliflower, you see the whole cauliflower but smaller.”

Let’s digress here. He developed theories to look at thde infinite complexities in the natural world.  He needed technology to do the math and to observe the parts of world from high in space or from inside a cell.  Children are deeply drawn to his work.  They innately see the beauty in the complexity. The power of nature is that the more time children are allowed to observe the world by exploring it in three dimensions (this is not scientific – just observational through my time teaching) the more fractal iterations they observe and the more they can see the world around themselves in patterns.   This aids in learning everything from geometry to grammar to geology to sociology.

This TED talk is rather dry but good in understanding how a creative mind works.

This TED talk is excellent in discussion of the history of fractals and the real world hunt for them in sociology and culture.


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Filed under Educational Philosophy, Geometry, Mathematics, Montessori, Science

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