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# Problem of the Week 5: Fractals!

## Due Friday, October 23

This is a mandatory POW and is worth 20 points instead of 10!
Your POW this week will guide you to construct a Sierpinski triangle that will be used in a
class-wide construction of a larger set.
1. Using a standard 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper (of any color of your choosing), use a ruler
and/or compass and/or protractor to construct an equilateral triangle with 6 sides.
Pay close attention and make careful measurements to be sure you actually make an
equilateral triangle (hint: sides AND angles!).
2. Read over these two websites (click h
ere
and
here
). Do AT LEAST four iterations.
Keep in mind that more iterations will yield more complex and interesting patterns.
Challenge Extension:
Instead of using equilateral triangles for the recursive pattern,
construct a Sierpinski gasket that uses a DIFFERENT shape within the 6 equilateral
triangular frame. Make sure that you are able to iterate the shape you choose within
3. Color or decorate your Sierpinski triangle in any way you choose! Your triangle
should represent YOU. You may draw, color, print and paste, or otherwise decorate in
whatever manner you wish, as long as you are thoughtful about your design and as
long as the triangles (or whatever shape you chose) within the frame are still clearly
visible. For example, you can simply color your triangle or you can choose a theme,
such as putting pictures in the larger triangles that represent your qualities or
interests. I suggest you plan this out before coloring so that you dont have to start
over. I WILL deduct points for sloppiness. Your finished triangle should be something
you are proud of.
4. For your write-up, use the following guidelines:
Stage 1: Understanding the Problem
In your own words, and in MORE than one sentence, provide a working
definition for a fractal. Your definition of a fractal should include properties
that are common to ALL fractals. Do not use a definition from a website or a
public source.
Explain how a Sierpinski triangle is a fractal.

## In this stage of your POW, you should also

use and define at least two of the
following terms
: recursion, self-similarity, iteration, repetition. (You can earn
more points for including other, more complex vocabulary in relation to
fractals.)
Stage 2: Process
Describe the construction of your Sierpinski triangle. How did you do it? What
were your challenges in constructing a truly equilateral triangle for your
frame? What tools did you use (ruler, compass, protractor)? Explain how many
iterations your triangle has and why you decided to stop where you did. If you
used shapes other than triangles for the internal pattern, describe this as
well.
Describe the design of your Sierpinski triangle. What colors, pictures, motifs,
themes, etc. did you choose? How do they represent you?
Stage 4: Justification
How would anybody be able to verify that you made a true Sierpinski triangle?
What aspects of your final product showcase the properties of a fractal? Make
sure you reference the vocabulary and definitions from Stage 1!

POW5
Fractals
1. WhatisaFractal?
AFractalisamathematicalconstructionthatisainfinitepatternthatiscomplexand
repeatsitselfandlooksthesamenomatterhowcloseyoulook.Afractalisthesame
objectinsideitself,andusesrepetitionofthesameobjectstocreatealargerorsmaller
recreationofitsshapes,suchastrianglesinsidetriangles.
The
Sierpinski triangle is a fractal because to start it is a single simple triangle, and has
recursion, where the same pattern is repeated over and over, and the overall patterns make
up the larger shape. The Sierpinski triangle is also a fractal because no matter how close
you zoom in, it is self similar, (where you can zoom in an infinite amount of times and the
object will still look the same).
2. For the construction of my Sierpinski triangle I started by getting a normal size piece of
paper (printer paper), I then drew a straight 6 inch line at the bottom of my paper. I then got
a drawing compass and put it on one end of the drawn line and another on the other end, I

then kept the point on the end of the line and moved the pencil end of the compass to the
top of its arc, drawing as I go, I did this for the other side of of the line as well. After this it
looked like an arch on my paper. At the top, where the arcs intersect and form a point, I
drew a line from there to the ends of the line at the bottom of the page. Using a protractor I
measured the angles of the triangle and they were all 60 degrees. Now it is an equilateral
triangle. Inside the equilateral triangle I drew another one, but this time it was upside
down and half the size of the original. I did this again with the three triangles generated
from putting an upside down one in the original. I put triangles, in opposite orientation they
the one it was inside, 6 times. The triangle has six iterations and looks great. I only colored
the second largest triangles in purple, yellow, and green, because there were so many
single triangles, it would have been messy to look at and do. The design represents me in
the way that I am very precise in the way I drew it and I did not want to take away from the
complexity of the fractal.
I also tried using circles inside a triangle, but I could not figure out how to fit them inside
perfectly by hand.

3.

4. You can verify if my project is a true Sierpinski triangle by, measuring the sides of the
triangles because each smaller triangle is exactly half the size of its larger predecessor. And
by measuring the angles of the large triangle to make sure they are 60 degrees. My final
Sierpinski triangle shows properties of a fractal because it has iterations that are all the
same yet smaller, and the closer you look the more repetition is seen.