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Material Detail

Coastline (Mathematics, Fractals)

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Material Type: Simulation
Date Added to MERLOT: June 29, 1997
Date Modified in MERLOT: March 07, 2011
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Author: Sergy Buldyrev, Anna Umansky Send email to Sergy Buldyrev, Anna Umansky 
Submitter : Jim Spohrer


Includes teacher generated activities. A section of the coast line is randomly given an angle (two lines), resulting in a smooth coastline gradually getting rougher and more fractal each click.

fractional dimension, natural fractals, dynamical systems, measuring coastline

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Primary Audience: College General Ed
Mobile Compatibility: Not specified at this time
Language: English
Cost Involved: no Source Code Available: no
Accessiblity Information Available: no Copyright: yes
Creative Commons: unsure

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Discussion for Coastline (Mathematics, Fractals)

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Avatar for Rakhi Sachdeva
10 years ago

Rakhi Sachdeva (Student)

The Fractal Coastline site is thought provoking and quite informative. It is
laid out very methodically and the two examples provided have elaborate steps to
enhance the grasp of concept. I perused through the java applet but it was not
as informative as the text. Although it conveyed the concept that was stated in
the text but not without reading the text over again before being able to
interpret the results.

I have a map hanging up against my bedroom wall and never in a zillion years it
stuck me the complexity involved in coastline measurement. Anytime I wanted to
get the distance I would count the number of longitudinal (or latitudinal lines)
and size it using the scale indicated on the map. It was pretty interesting to
learn that coastlines like many other natural objects often exhibit fractal
characteristics and that two distinguishing characteristics of a fractal are
self-similarity at different scales and fractional (non-integer) dimension.

The site is pretty informative for people who would like to learn about the
existence of fractals in real world. Also it briefly touches upon the usage of
log-log graph paper. Nevertheless it took me a while to understand the contents
of the site, I believe to have good understanding of the topic the prerequisite
in geometry and fractal must be met.

Avatar for Martin Koning Bastiaan
14 years ago

Martin Koning Bastiaan (Administrator)

Generates Fractal coastlines and allows measuring of resulting coastline This is one of the premier examples of an applet which has been the center of a curriculum unit on fractals and measurement.

Avatar for John Lilly
15 years ago

John Lilly

Great example of actual use in a High School There's a really great link from the applet page to a page used by an actual high school teacher for a lesson.

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