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What’s a Fractal?

Jack Frost visited my car this week.  Jack left me a particularly beautiful rendition of a fractal.  So beautiful that I HAD to take a picture of it.  Below is that picture (I cropped out the less desirable aspects).  It got me wondering once again about the formation of ice crystals and then the nerd in me had to take it to the next plane and wondered about fractals.  I kind of knew what a fractal was but I didn’t really know… I had to find out.

Jack Frost2

Jack Frost





Looking closely at the picture on the left you notice the detail (picture on right) of the branching similar to a strand of wheat.

Simply put a fractal is a pattern in nature that never ends.  It repeats and repeats as it gets smaller and smaller.  Here is a good website if you would like to introduce your class to the wonders of nature via fractals.  You can visit the Fractal Foundation at for some wonderful interactives and educator downloads.

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