Computer math and the Chaos game

In the last blog post I mentioned the talk that Conrad Wolfram gave at the Computer Based Math Education Summit which you can find here:

I found his thoughts on using computers in math education to be extremely interesting.  As I wrote yesterday, I’m not sure that I’d take things as far as he does, but I think that his arguments have a lot of merit.  My plan is to introduce the boys to more computer based math, and do so as soon as possible.

Following a field trip on Monday, my older son is starting a chapter on graphing quadratic equations on Tuesday, so bringing computers into the fold there should be easy.  I’m currently covering some introductory number theory with my younger son, so the computer side there isn’t quite as obvious.  Guess I’ve got something to think through for tomorrow!

Today I introduced them to the “Chaos Game.”  Seemed like a nice and easy starting point for computer-based math – the math itself is fairly easy and the result is stunning.  The program I wrote to work with them uses the programming section of Khan Academy.  I picked that simply because it is easy to share with others who are interested.  The program is here:

Feel free to play around with it, share it with kids, and make fun spin offs.  The video of the three of us going though the game is here:


If today’s exercise is any indication, the boys are really going to enjoy the computer math.  Can’t wait to do more!

8 thoughts on “Computer math and the Chaos game

  1. “What?! Sierpinski’s Triangle!?”


    I’m excited to see where your computer-based math adventures head next!

    In terms of number theory CBM ideas–it made me think of this online scavenger hunt about factoring and squares that I made for some fifth grade math classes. ( I think I found some good ways of using computers to promote exploration and investigation. Maybe you’ll find some inspiration therein.

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