Decoding Patterns in Nature

Students will identify and classify patterns found in nature. They will use letters or fractals to decode the patterns mathematically. Then they will draw an original piece of artwork based on the pattern they found.

### PROCESS:

1. Invite a volunteer to draw a simple picture of a zebra on the board. If you teach grades 9-10, tell the student to draw a stick figure representation of a tree branch.
2. As a class, identify the pattern on each drawing. (The zebra has an alternating pattern of black and white stripes. The tree branch has a repeated pattern of two short lines extending from a longer line in the middle. Guide students to recognize that this pattern applies to the entire tree, with the trunk being the main long line.)
3. Ask students how they could show the pattern of the zebra's stripes using letters. For example, is it an ABC, ABB, or AB type of pattern? (AB) Guide them to recognize that the tree branch is a fractal. The basic shape of a Y is repeated over and over again.
4. Take the class outside or have them look through photos online. Instruct students to identify and classify patterns they see in nature. Challenge them to decode those patterns mathematically, using letters to express each pattern or by identifying the basic geometric shape upon which a fractal is based.
5. Once students have identified their pattern, give them time to draw an original piece of art based on the pattern they found in nature.

### ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to share their findings with the class. Challenge them to explain why each example is a pattern and why the mathematical representation they identified is correct. Encourage them to explain how their picture represents the pattern they found in nature.