17 Captivating Fractals Found in Nature – Includes plants, rivers, galaxies, clouds, weather, population patterns, stocks, video feedback, crystal growth, etc..

WIRED: Earth’s Most Stunning Natural Fractal Patterns – Scroll through a gallery of fractals.
Mother Nature Network: 14 Amazing Fractals Found in Nature – Site offers a gallery with a brief description for each one.
Fractal Foundation: Inspiring Interest in Science, Math, & Art – Site offers fractal shows, pictures, a section to explore fractals, and videos with more information.
Wikipedia: Fractal – Explains what fractals are. Pictures available.

Kids Discover: Family Nature Walk – Patterns in Nature – Fractal Activities.

Creative Star Learning: Outdoor Maths: Fractals in Nature – Explains what fractals are and offers some outdoor activities.

Fractal Music: Explore Musical Patterns – An introduction to fractal music.

NS Science: The Fractal Nature of Music – Fractal-like structures that exist in music.

Plus Fractal Music – Listen to Dmitry Kormann’s fractal compositions.

Mis-titled video about Fractals

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By JeffyP

Calligraphy Resources

Calligraphy Tools By Fran W.

Information About Calligraphy

History, Cultural, Types

Calligraphy: Manuscript: History of Calligraphy – Site offers historical information and writing samples.

Art of Calligraphy: PDF article about the history of calligraphy.

Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Chinese Calligraphy – History of Chinese calligraphy.

Wikipedia: Calligraphy – Information about the tools used, traditions, modern calligraphy and photos.

Printable Practice Papers & DYI Pen & Ink

Printable Paper: Download printable practice pages. Variety of pages offered.


eHow: Homemade India Ink & Make Calligraphy Ink From Acrylic Paint

Embelish: How To Make Your Own Colorful Calligraphy Ink

Instructables has two tutorials for making your own writing instrument.
DIY Calligraphy Pens & Make a calligraphy pen out of a bulrush (cattail) reed

Council of ElrondCalligraphy: Make Your Own Ink & Quill Pen

Regia Anglorum: Quills – This site offers a few authentic ways to make quills and ink in addition to some historical information.


Click on arrow next to ‘Playlist’ to see the title names.


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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

3-D Ornaments


When it comes to learning math, we enjoy exploring it in fun and challenging ways and do our best to turn simple items into cool, useful things. Making 3-D ornaments from paper and/or recycled cardboard is a great way to do this.

3-D Geometric Shapes

3-D Geometric shapes make really nice tree ornaments. When I did craft programs for kids and families, the kids really enjoyed the challenge of making these and had a lot of fun decorating them.

Octahedrons have 8 equilateral triangles, they look like two pyramids put together. 
Enchanted learning has a printable octahedron that can be used to make this 3-D shape. Just follow the directions on the page to put it together. Decorate the triangles before or after folding and gluing it. 

Sphericons are an unusual 3-D shape, and a bit of challenge to make, but look really nice once you get them together. Print these sphericon templates to make them.

Print out, make and decorate a cube, dodecahedron and a tetrahedron too.

We made ours by printing out a template, making a pattern out of it by gluing it to a piece of cardboard, cutting that out carefully and tracing it onto construction paper or a piece of festive paper. Once we cut out our pattern, we carefully folded the edges, glued it together, decorated them with stickers, and put ribbons on them.

3-D Basic Shapes

3-D Star by Fran W

Another way to make 3-D ornaments is to take two identical shapes, that are the same size, and put them together by cutting one shape from the bottom to the middle and the other from the top to the middle, then sliding them together. A small amount of tape may be needed to keep them in place. 

We cut our shapes from cardboard, covered them with festive paper, put them together and added ribbon. We used our own stencils to do this project, but if you don’t have any, you can use the suggested templates below, or trace around cookie cutters.

Hang these on the tree, in corners or along the tops of door jams. 
Tip: 3-D ornaments can be made from construction paper, card stock, and recycled cards as well.

Suggested templates…

Tree, star, bell, round ornaments, gingerbread man and snowman

Origami Projects

Some origami projects make really nice tree ornaments as well.

We made our origami ornaments with foil origami paper that we purchased in a craft store, but copy paper can be decorated and used and so can wrapping paper, if it is cut into even squares. 
A sticker or a picture can be put in the middle of the star box and the paper balloon can be wrapped like a present.

Suggests for origami ornaments…

Crane, star box, paper balloon, star and stocking
Click here for more holiday origami projects.

3-D ornaments make great gifts and additions to holiday gift wrap too!

More holiday activities can be found here on

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3-D Ornaments by Fran W

Leaf Identification Activities

If you’ve collected a bunch of leaves on your leaf hunt, here are some fun ways to learn how to identify them:

Identify your leaves – The University of Florida has a printable Botany Handbook filled with information about leaves and plants that you may find useful. It also offers a bunch of plant illustrations here. Check your state’s Extension Office website for great resources as well! 
This site may prove helpful when identifying leaves: 
eNature: Trees

Make leaf identification cards

You will need:
Index cards or cardstock cut to the size you need, something to write with, leaves that have been pressed and acid-free glue

What to do:
Glue each leaf to the blank side of an index card or cardstock, and write down what tree it came from. If you want to write more info about the leaf/tree, do this on the back of the card before gluing the leaf on.

Make leaf print identification cards

You will need: 
Index cards or cardstock cut to the size you need, something to write with, leaves: fresh or pressed, a paint brush and food dye, water color, or non-toxic paint, bowl of water to clean brushes and leaves, and a paper towel to blot brushes and dry the leaves, something to put paint in such as small caps or lids

What to do:
Put a little paint or dye in a lid or a cap, paint the raised side of the leaf with a paint brush, and press it onto the index card. Rinse your leaf off in water and dry it. Write the name of the leaf on the card when the paint dries.
Tip: Markers can be used to make prints too.

Play games with your identification cards

Match Games
  • If you make two identification cards for each of your leaves, you can play a match game with them. If you can see through the card, glue a piece of construction paper behind each one.
  • Consider making one card with a leaf print and the other with the tree name.
  • This game can be played with one or more players.
  • Make 10 or more sets of cards. If you do not have that many leaves, make multiple leaf prints in different colors.

Go Fish Version
Make 15 or more pairs of leaf cards and play with them as you would the game, ‘Go Fish‘. 

Guessing Games

How well do you know your leaves? 

Make 10 or more different cards for the following games.

20 Questions

Play a game of 20 questions with your leaf cards. One player chooses a card but doesn’t tell the other players what it is. Then the players take turns asking yes or no questions to try and guess what leaf it is. After 20 questions (or an agreed on amount), the card can be shown. The player who guesses correctly collects the card, chooses another card from the pile, and the game begins again.

Guess My Leaf

A player chooses a card and describes it to the other players without saying its name. Players take turns trying to guess what leaf is being described. If a player gets it right, they collect the card, and choose a card to start another round. If players need to be shown the card, decide who gets to describe the next card.
Tip: When describing the leaf, players should be allowed to add any information they know about it, and the tree it came from: Where it can be found, the type of leaf it is (if known), how tall the tree can grow, the type of seed it disperses, the technical name for it, etc.

Try This…

When all the leaves have fallen off the tree, use your cards to identify what leaf would grow on that tree.

While the trees are budding, predict what the leaf will look like.

Note: To identify your leaves, you can use the following site to help you out, or ask someone who knows a lot about trees: A knowledgeable neighbor, friend or family member, a local nursery that s
ells trees, an arborist, a horticulturalist, your local Extension Office, etc..

Virginia Tech 
This site has an interactive map of the United States to help you identify the tree you are looking for. Click on your region/state, and put in as much information as you can. Click on any of the tree names provided, and it will take you to a picture that offers some information about that tree. 

Leaf Activities on

Fall Leaves                                          Leaf Hunting

Leaf People & Creatures                    Leaf Prints & Stencils

Colorful Leaf Rubbings

Experiment: Chromatography of Leaves

Leaf Prints and Leaf Stencils


To make leaf prints or stencils you will need: 

A variety of paper: copy, construction, cardstock, small leaves: fresh or pressed, a paint brush, a clean sponge, food dye, water color, or non-toxic paint, bowl of water to clean brushes and leaves, and a paper towel to blot brushes and dry leaves, something to put paint in such as small caps or lids, scissor
Optional: Something to write with

How to make leaf prints…

Put a little paint or food coloring in a lid or a cap, moisten a paint brush, and blot to remove excess water, paint the raised side of the leaf, and press it onto the paper. Wash and dry the leaf if you want to use it again for another print.
Tip: Markers can be used to make leaf prints too.

How to use your leaf as a stencil…

Cut a small piece of sponge for this activity.

Put your leaf on paper and quickly dab paint or food coloring around the outside edge with a sponge. Clean and dry your leaf or leaves, wash out the sponge, and dry it a little before using another color.
Put the leaves together to form an outline of something like a fish, a bird, a flower, a tree, or something else.

What you can make…

Note cards, greeting cards, frames, gift paper, gift bags, gift tags, etc.

Leaf Activities on

Fall Leaves                                          Leaf Hunting

Leaf People & Creatures                    Leaf Identification Activities

Colorful Leaf Rubbings

Experiment: Chromatography of Leaves

Paper Airplanes

Today’s Topic: Paper Airplanes
Did you know……
The Guinness World record for the longest time a paper airplane was held aloft is 29.2 seconds! 
Today’s Activity:  Make paper airplanes
Learn about the history of paper planes, view 50 instructional videos for making paper planes.
Tips and suggestions….
If you want your paper airplanes to fly well, the most important things to remember is to keep the folds straight and even and the creases sharp!
Once you get the hang of making paper planes, try to modify the plane by making a few changes to the design. You can do this by:
– Making little cuts in the wings to create flaps or cut a piece of the middle and bring it to the top of the plane.
– Tape a paper clip to the tip of the plane to help it fly better.
– Tape a skewer or a toothpick to the inside of the middle fold.
– Tape the plane together in the middle or the end.
– Cut a notch in the bottom of the plane and shoot it with a rubber band. 
– Change the way the plane is folded in order to make a new paper plane design.
– Learn how to make a stunt paper airplane.
You can find another stunt plane here.
Suggestions for flying the paper airplane…..
– Learn how to throw a paper airplane by watching this video.
– Fly the paper airplane inside or outside.
– Stand on something high, throw it and measure how far it goes, then throw it from a spot on the ground close by and measure again; compare the two distances.
– Throw the plane toward the sky
– Throw the plane from the shoulder or from the hip and see which one flies further.
– Make a variety of planes and compare how well and how far each one flies.
– Keep a flight log.
Have fun!
Questions of the day:
Who currently holds the Guinness World record for the longest paper airplane in flight?
Who held the Guinness World record for the longest paper airplane flight before the current record holder? 
Learn More:
Learn more about Ken Blackburn, a 13 year Guinness World Record holder
Read about the gentleman that now holds the Guinness World Record for the longest paper plane flight
Site offers patterns and templates for variety of paper planes

How To Fold and Tweak A Great Paper Plane –  YouTube video 7:03
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The Circle

Bird w/flower Made with circles

Did you know…

The word circle derives from the Greek word kirkos

Activity: Circle scenes

You’ll need:

Round flat objects such as bottle caps, lids, or cups, pencil, colored paper, scissors, and glue 
Optional: Ruler

Set up:

Using a variety of round lids and objects, trace around them with a pencil onto colored paper and cut them out. You will want to cut a bunch of circles in a variety sizes and then cut them in the following ways. 
Use a ruler when needed:

– Leave some of the circles whole
– Take one section out (any size)
– Cut pie shapes (sectors)
– Cut some circles in half
– Cut some circles into: thirds, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, twenty-fourths, etc.
– Cut arcs and cords from your circles
– Cut squiggly lines

Have fun and be creative with this project.

Note: You can turn this into a recycled project by using old magazines, newspaper, old wrapping paper, cards and junk mail. Decorate your own paper and use that too.

What to do:

Use your circles, and parts of circles, to make a variety of objects and scenes. Lay your pieces out in different ways and then glue them down when you like what you see.

Here are some ideas:

Make an underwater scene, fish, people, birds, flowers, butterflies, trees, animals and all kinds of creative designs.

Question of the day:

Objects in nature are rounded.
Can you find something in nature (not made by man), that is not rounded?

Learn more: 
Definitions and formulas of a circle

Circle Parts 
Word search

Design with circles
Make designs with a compass

Basketball Geometry Learn how to find the circumference of a circle and then play basketball when you get the answer correct.

How is Geometry Used in Everyday Life?
Article about geometry.

Math Warehouse: Geometry: Circle
Circles, arcs, chords, tangents – Interactive & Exploratory Activities

Find out the benefits of folding circles into 3-D shapes.

Wikipedia: Circle
Explains what a circle is, terminology, history and more

Related posts on

Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

Geometric Designs

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Bird w/flower Made with Circles