Every month I do a different pattern on our calendar, and the students enjoy guessing the rule. This month the pattern was a stumper: 1 bug, 1 bee, 2 bugs, 3 bees, 5 bugs, 8 bees, and as of today 5 bugs. They figured out fairly quickly that it was an increasing pattern, but no one could figure out quite what the rule was. After I wrote it up on the board as 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8 and let everyone think about it for a couple days, Ethan discovered the rule on Friday. If you add 1+1 you get 2, if you add 1+2 you get 3, and so on. Anik also realized that I can’t complete the pattern because the next number is 13 and there are only 5 days left in April.
This sequence of numbers is the Fibonacci Sequence, named after Leonard Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician who wrote about it in a paper in the 13th century. He did not discover the sequence–it was first written about in Indian mathematics–but Fibonacci did introduce it to Europe which is why the sequence of numbers bears his name.
I’ve always thought the Fibonacci Sequence is cool (I may be a math geek in addition to loving books!) and Inspiration Green shows some amazing patterns in nature, although I’m doubtful that the population distribution in Africa is a result of the Fibonacci sequence. The Khan Academy also has an interesting video about Fibonacci spirals. The narrator speaks really quickly so pay attention! In case this hasn’t quenched your thirst for math, head on over to the Math Awareness Month site (did you know April was math awareness month?) The theme this year is magic and mystery, and there are some fun videos to watch.