While at the art store gathering supplies this week, I spotted an amazing little connection to our classroom- a golden ratio finder! Of course I had to get that for our classroom. But then I wondered how exactly I was going to try to explain the Fibonacci Sequence in extreme brevity to young children. The children had seen the pattern on our wall, on my earrings, and in our beloved spiral book, but I hadn’t yet attempted to explain the mathematics behind the concept.
I explained that while we see these spirals everywhere, there is something even more incredible and we’d have to use math to understand. So we put on our ‘mathematician’ (or ‘math-magician’ as they repeated) lenses to look more closely. I turned to the back of our book, where we can often find more research information, and read what it told us about the Fibonacci Sequence. It said that the spirals in our DNA, in pinecones, in galaxies, and seemingly everywhere, unfold at a steady rate- with the next step in the sequence equal to the sum of the two preceding it. So we talked about addition and what a ‘sum’ is, and then we built it with blocks! The first starting at 1, then 1+0= 1, then 1+1=2, then 3, then 5, and it goes on and on. So we put 1 block, 1 block, then a 2×2 square, then a 3×3 square, then a 5×5 square. This math work came more easily to them than I expected! It was a lot to wrap our minds around but helped show them just how amazing it is that we see these spirals in perfect form everywhere- each following this mathematical sequence, seemingly, effortlessly.
Then I revealed to them the Fibonacci finder that I picked up from the art store, and they were so excited. They eagerly waited and begged for their turn to see the world through the lens of the golden ratio. We brought it outside to see what we could find and apply our ratio to. Just look at these explorers!