February 8, 2012

Phi had a Dollar for Every Fibonacci Thing We've Done!

That's right!  Let the Phi jokes roll!  We're taking a break from American History this week (we kind of wore ourselves out on it watching documentaries while we were sick) and have thrown ourselves headlong into Fibonacci numbers!  I know I say this all the time, but I never learned about this in school!  I was licensed to teach math, and still at no point in my college career did anyone ever mention this fantastical sequence to me.  Why is that?  Why is the cool math saved for an elite few?  Why did I have to take classes in which we did all of our math in a base 8 and 5, which no one on this planet will ever need to know because we are a base 10 culture and always will be, but never heard about this magical, spiraling sequence that is present in just about everything mother nature ever made?  I don't get it.

Needless to say, I've learned a lot this week and we've all had a blast.  And it's only Wednesday!!!  We have two more full days of the week in which to revel in the magical sequence!  Phi had known how much fun we'd have, I'd have penciled in another week to do it! 

We made our own Fibonacci square sequence and the resulting spiral.  The boys both made one and then walked away.  Hannah Jane, on the other hand, sat there and made eight of them and took her time coloring them in different color schemes.  She made us all ooh and ahh over them repeatedly throughout the day.

We got a pineapple and taped the spirals in different colors.  We didn't get a Fibonacci number for our counter clockwise round, so we must have done something wrong.  We tried again.  We tried yet again.  Still, no Fib number.  This led us to the discovery of Lucas numbers.  I still don't really get why Lucas numbers are a thing, practically being the Fibonacci sequence with a different start point and all, but they're apparently a thing and our abnormal pineapple was a Lucas aberration.  Mystery solved.

But the weird pineapple thing was good because we watched someone do it in a video and I jokingly said, "Now we should do it ourselves because you can't believe everything you see on youtube!"  I said that fully believing that we could believe this, and then we actually got a totally different outcome from the one we were virtually guaranteed to get.  So, it made for a nice plug for critical thinking.

All of the pineapple and Lucas number talk led us to discover Vi Hart, and she's just about the most adorable thing ever!  Haven actually said, "Is she adorable in real life, Mom?  I mean, is she cute?  She sounds cute, but all I can see is her hands and you can't really tell if a person is cute just by their hands."  I'm not sure when my 4 year old started even thinking about if someone is cute or not, but he thought her math was cute and that made him wonder what she looked like.  We found a picture and confirmed that she is, in fact, as adorable as she sounds.  We are officially Vi fans! Phi had known about her sooner, maybe Hannah Jane would think math is more fun!

Today I promised Hannah Jane that we could tape a bunch of pieces of graph paper together and make a giant Fibonacci pattern.  I don't know why this was so exciting to her, but it was.  She actually said, I kid you not, "Mom, this is the most fun I've had my whole life.  Well, since Disney Land.  I literally hate math and I am doing math right now and I don't want to stop.  Like ever."  Ha! 

While it is peripherally mathy, in this case it was really just coloring.  Good old fashioned, over-glorified coloring.  But I went with it.  Phi had called it coloring, it would have killed her math high.

She loved it so much that she actually took down the Lala Loopsy poster from her bedroom door and replaced it with a Fibonacci gallery.

This afternoon we got shrink sheets and made Fibonacci jewelry mini-fibi's.  We traced the mini sequences that we made on day one, painted them with acrylics, and shrunk them down to size.  I drilled holes in Hannah Jane's, and she made a cute bracelet with leaves and a Fib spiral.  She's so proud of it!

The boys just carry theirs around and yell, "FIBONACCI!" obnoxiously loud, flashing it at you as they pass.  They wouldn't stand still long enough for a picture.

I've got a few more Phi-ish projects in mind for the week.  Some more Vi, some Fib related food.  Maybe we'll wrap it all up with a Fibonacci party on Friday.  Who knows?


  1. Thank you!! You're the best.

  2. I love the math activities that you have been posting. Do you have a source that you love for ideas like this? For one who is only beginning to be exposed to "fractals" and "Fibonacci sequences," where does one start? Also, do you have a core math curriculum that you use, and then supplement with cool math stuff like this on the side?

    1. Hi Hannah!
      We have primarily used Teaching Textbook for our math spine for the last couple of years, and before that we used Saxon. Right now, we're kind of over those (not because they're not great but just because we need a fresh perspective once in a while. Ya know?) and we're giving Khan Academy a go.

      As for supplemental resources for hands-on stuff, well, I mostly let fate decide. Haha! We just run across things that sound interesting and I google them to death and come up with ideas. I'm a math nerd by nature, so I'm always reading math blogs to find my next big searchable keyword. Vi Hart has been an endless source of inspiration, though. She talks maybe a little too fast for the littles to catch it all, but they still get a kick out of her and then I'll grab some of her terms and design lessons around them in a slower format that the kids can absorb.

      I suppose I would start with math teacher blogs. There are many dynamic math bloggers out there who really pull the artistic and quirky out of math and put it to use in fun ways. That should help you get the ball rolling!

      Good luck!


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