Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 191–209 | Cite as

Chaos in the classroom: Exposing gifted elementary school children to chaos and fractals

  • Helen M. Adams
  • John C. Russ


A unit of study for gifted 4th and 5th graders is described on the subject of mathematical periodicity and chaos and the underlying physical processes which produce these phenomena. A variety of hands-on experiments and the use of various data analysis tools and computer aids provide students with powerful raw material for their analysis, interpretation, and understanding. The concepts of simple periodic motion (e.g., a pendulum), complex superposition of motions (e.g., the vibrations in musical instruments), and chaotic sequences (e.g., stock prices) are covered, with numerous practical examples. Opportunities to involve related activities emphasizing language arts, history, and graphic art are included. The student response to the material is documented.


Fractals periodicity chaos gifted students science education 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen M. Adams
    • 1
  • John C. Russ
    • 2
  1. 1.Wake County Public SchoolsAcademically Gifted InstructionRaleigh
  2. 2.College of EngineeringNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleigh

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