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Ms. Suzy Lassacher, App Development Teacher for the Upper School, tasked her students with finding a “passion project” to work on during their asynchronous (at-home) class days. Read more about Tampa Prep’s hybrid schedule. The project objectives were to foster students’ ownership in the class, to keep them engaged on their days learning from home and for them to be excited about what they were working on. 

For his app development project, Walker W. ‘23 chose to work on fractals that are based on the Mandelbrot set of numbers. The Mandelbrot set of numbers was defined and created by Adrien Douady as a tribute to the mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, a pioneer of fractal geometry. 

Walker wrote an app that creates a 2D representation of the Mandelbrot set of numbers that results in a fractal that looks like a galaxy, according to Walker. He went on to explain, “The app turns the numbers into a visual representation and then lets you move through the fractal to explore its shape. I really did enjoy this assignment because I could explore my own project to see what I could make my app do with fractals.” 

Ms. Lassacher hopes that her students have a meaningful experience in her class that also gives them the flexibility to try new things and tailor assignments to their own interests. “There is so much more to app development than just coding,” Lassacher says. “There is also asset development, shader development, texture creation, terrain generation, graphics, user interfaces and more.” 

Walker’s app can next be ported to a virtual reality (VR) platform to offer a user the experience of navigating through the Mandelbrot fractal in 3D. Tampa Prep is one of the only schools in the nation to offer a complete VR curriculum, VR clubs and VR summer camps.