SchoolArts Magazine

MAR 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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28 MARCH 2019 SchoolArts D o you aspire to implement innovative ways to incorporat e STEAM into your K–12 arts c urriculum? Fractals are an engaging way to celebrate art, sci - ence, and math. What's more, fractals a re nature's DNA, and examples can be seen all around us, from the microscopic patterns on a snowflake to the vast contours of a coastline. As a graphic arts teacher at the middle-school level for twelve years, I've developed various lessons that employ crosscurricular concepts that allow students to gain better insight into the creation process. Fractals are an exciting way to intro - duce math and science into the cur- riculum while captivating students' i nterests as they create their digital artworks. M I D D L E S C H O O L Kevin Fogelson THE WORLD OF FRACTALS Mandelbrot and the Fractal When I first introduced my fractal lesson, students became aware that, for centuries, the brightest minds have struggled to unlock the myster - ies hidden within a fractal. Benoit Mandelbrot was the first scientist to graph a fractal set using IBM com- puters to calculate complex math- ematical equations. Mandelbrot's exploration with new technology connects with my own passion to utilize the latest technology to cre - ate my own artwork and improve my g raphics arts curriculum. Engaging Examples After providing students with a historical context, I emphasized the visual nature of fractals through plenty of engaging examples. Koch's snowflake demonstrates the fun - damental concepts of fractals both v isually and mathematically. Artist Katsushika Hokusai's portrayal of nature reinforces repetition and pat - tern through the use of fractals in m any of his woodblock prints. The splatter of an abstract expressionist painting by Jackson Pollock illus - trates the concept of self-similarity, a b asic property of fractals. The more students understand the essence of fractals, the more motivated they become to create mesmerizing frac - tal artworks. Moving to the Computer Students designed their fractal man- dala artwork on the computer. Before they began, I researched and down- loaded fractal generators that are Katie Heiden, grade seven.

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