Friday, December 21, 2007

From Tesselation and Fractals to Stretch Reading in Science

Here's a playful way to learn some advanced math that applies to science. Enjoy!

Here's a link to a pineapple fractal...Fractals are found in nature. This link goes to a photo taken by Dr. Ron Hurov who works in the botany of commercial pineapple production.

One of Ron Hurov's papers is at this link. You can try reading scholarly works in botany and other fields as part of "stretch reading."

"Stretch Reading," invented by Dr. J, is needed in the sciences where vocabulary words are developed every day as we discover new things. First, just skim the paper and look at the graphs and pictures. Then, circle any words (on a photocopy) or list words in your notebook that you don't know. Now, just try to get the gist of the article in one sentence. This might be as simple as, "The article is about pineapples, whatever they are." As you look at more and more articles, you will find yourself more able to understand them. Do not worry about understanding when you first start. Even medical doctors and PhDs need to learn new words and especially if they switch their area of reading a bit. For example a biopsychologist may have to learn new jargon to read electrophysiology papers. So don't worry, even if every other word is one you don't know. You are getting yourself comfortable with the unknown. You are stretch reading. (More on that later.) When there is something that interests you enough, I have no doubt you will attack it to the point you understand it. And, you won't be afraid to tackle it. You might also like: Reading Science.

(c)2007 J. S. Shipman

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