Math in Nature: Fibonacci Numbers Discovery Kit® (Class Kit)
An Italian mathematician published a book in 1202 that told of the discovery of a fascinating number sequence often seen in nature (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, and so on) where the sum of any two numbers in the sequence equals the next number. This intriguing STEM kit integrates science, math, and engineering studies through investigations involving Fibonacci numbers. This sequence is repeatedly observed in nature. Using pine cones, this kit explores this sequence, discusses its relevance, and offers suggestions for further investigations. The classroom kit contains 35 female pine cones, 35 pine spirals, two pine cone halves, and a pine twig (all of which demonstrate Fibonacci sequences), plus a magnifying observation box containing small male pollen cones and a 3x magnifier. This kit also includes an educator's activity guide offering instructions, information on pine cone botany, additional Fibonacci-related activities, glossary of terms, and related internet links. Recommended for ages 8 and up, with adult supervision.
Introduction (from the activity booklet that comes with this kit):
The term “Fibonacci” is derived from the name of an Italian mathematician. Back in the Middle Ages, when Genghis Khan ruled most of Asia and King John of England was about to sign the Magna Carta, Leonardo de Pisa published the book, Liber Abbaci. In it, he documented the repeating patterns he found in nature. But Leonardo de Pisa was better known by his nickname, Fibonacci, which came from two Italian words, “filius Bonacci,” meaning “the son of Bonacci.” Hence, the term, Fibonacci sequence, was born (though it should be noted that earlier East Indian mathematicians were also aware of this sequence). The Fibonacci sequence is composed of a mathematical series of numbers. Beginning with 0 and 1, each subsequent number is the sum of the previous two (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13, 21,34,55,89,144, and so on). Many mathematicians have studied the deeper complexities of the Fibonacci sequence and use it in financial, computer, and statistical analyses. Fibonacci numbers have also been used to generate geometric patterns that correlate with some spiral patterns found in nature. People are still trying to determine why Fibonacci numbers appear in nature. Theories include design for strength (shells), exposure to sunlight (leaves), and even maximizing packing densities (cabbage). This activity guide explores several common natural patterns that contain numbers in the Fibonacci sequence.
Internet links in the booklet include:
Overview of the Fibonacci sequence.
Collection of natural images related to the Fibonacci sequence.
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