Today’s date , in mm/dd format is 11/23 which forms a pattern of numbers called the fibonacci sequence. Each number in the this sequence is the sum of the two numbers before it, hence the sequence is 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21…. and so on. The next number in this sequence would be 34 , by adding the two previous numbers, 21 and 13. Surprisingly, the fibonacci sequence is visible in nature also – in the center of the Sunflower ( check it out here ) , spirals in the bottom of pine cones and in the bumps of a pineapple.
Here is a simple activity I did with my kids to help them better understand the fibonacci sequence. I asked them, suppose you need to climb a staircase and you can either climb 1 step or 2 steps at a time, how many different ways can you climb each stair ? We worked together and found out that there is only 1 way to climb the staircase 1. Two ways to climb staircase 2 by either climbing 1 step twice or climbing 2 steps at a time. There are 3 ways to climb staircase 3 by climbing 1 step thrice, climbing 1 step and then 2 steps to reach 3rd staircase or by climbing 2 steps and then 1 step to reach 3rd staircase. Similarly, there are 5 different possibilities to climb staircase 4.
We then recorded the result in a table and I let them observe the pattern. I asked them if they see a numerical pattern ? And if they can figure out how many different ways are there to climb staircase 5. They wrote all the different ways they can climb the staircase 5 and found out there were 8 different possibilities. Then they realized that the numbers must form the Fibonacci sequence.
The magic of fibonacci sequence doesn’t end here. If you divide any two consecutive numbers in the fibonacci sequence, their ratio is always closer to 1.6180. This number is called the Golden Ratio. The Golden ratio is also called the divine proportion and has fascinated people for centuries. It is said to be in the dimensions of human body and even in the famous paintings like Mona Lisa. It is said that the most beautiful human face has golden ratio hidden in the proportions of their face. Are you the one ?
Nevertheless, if you are looking to explore and read more about Fibonacci sequence, then here are some book suggestions.
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Fibonacci Fun: Fascinating Activities With Intriguing Numbers It has 24 easy to use activities to introduce Fibonacci sequence to kids
Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci It tells the story about Leonardo Fibonacci and his fascination with numbers and patterns
Math Curse Its a story about a student who starts viewing everything in life as a math problem after her math teacher makes an innocent statement “you know, almost everything in life can be considered a math problem”. She becomes a mathematical lunatic until she find a solution to escape from the math curse.