Fibonacci: It’s Not Pasta

Books GeekMom
Count the petals! (Photo by Alexandra Siy)

Did you count thirteen petals on the Black-Eyed-Susan? It’s fun for kids to count petals on blooming flowers “springing” out of the ground. It’s also a lesson in higher math.

Last week I attended the NSTA Conference in San Francisco where I met Sarah C. Campbell, author of the picture book Growing Patterns. Sarah presented her book to an audience of teachers, librarians, and authors in an engaging  talk–which she began by saying Fibonacci is not a brand of of pasta, but the name of a 13th century Italian mathematician. She pointed out that the sequence of numbers named for Fibonacci were known to scholars in India long before his time.

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…

The pattern is easy to spot, even for elementary school children. Just add the two preceding numbers in the sequence to get the next number. Growing Patterns shows how the Fibonacci sequence is revealed in nature. Colorful photographs of flowers, pineapples, and pinecones help readers discover the pattern.

Sarah has also developed the  Fibonacci Folding Book  Project, a hands-on multidisciplinary activity  that combines math, science, language arts, and art. Sarah’s website features a video tutorial and detailed instructions for downloading and printing instructions. This a fun and rewarding springtime project for students of all ages.

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