Wednesday, June 25, 2014

BB Part 6 - Fibonacci and the Golden Spiral

Woohoo, I'm more than halfway through my Blog Backlog: Playing Catch Up series! Make sure to check out all the BB posts!

During our last few days of school I wanted more of an "enrichment" lesson with my intervention math class. I've always been fascinated with Da Vinci and Fibonacci numbers, so I figured this would be a fun and meaningful math activity.

I have a copy of the book Math Wizardry for Kids that I picked up at a second hand bookstore ages ago. There are a couple of chapters on Da Vinci, including a biographical background and some activities.

I started by reading about Da Vinci to the class, then we figured out the Fibonacci sequence using calculators (0+1, 1+1, 1+2, 2+3, 3+5, 5+8, etc.). Next we took a mini field trip out to the playground to collect some samples from nature. We brought back twigs, leaves, pinecones, seed pods, and more. Then we looked at our samples to see if we could locate the numbers in our sequence. The seedpods had places for 8 seeds, the twigs had sections of 3, and the pine needles always came in sets of 2.

The following day we discussed the Golden Spiral and we created our own using the Fibonacci sequence we had discovered the previous day. For the most part it was easy, we just had to make sure we were all turning our papers the same way.

To create the Gold Spiral we started with a piece of graph paper (ours had very small squares, less than 1 cm). We found the approximate center of the paper and outlined a 1x1 square as our starting place. Next to this we colored in a 1x1 square. Beginning to move in a spiral we then made squares to the dimensions from the sequence, 2x2, 3x3, 5x5, 8x8, 13x13, until we had no more room. I think we were able to make it to 21x21. For each square we changed colors trying not to have any same colors touching. Finally, we used a dark colored pencil to create the spiral shape.

Not only did this simple activity help them better appreciate numbers and how math is related to nature, we ended up with some pretty cool looking art!

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