The Fibonacci Sequence in nature

SunFlower: the Fibonacci sequence, Golden Section

Image by lucapost via Flickr

As the end of term draws near we are all looking for lessons to inject a bit of fun into the last two weeks of term. I need some display work for my classroom so am getting the pupils to create posters about the famous mathematician Fibonacci.

After introducing the Fibonacci Sequence, I then showed the pupils this presentation which shows where it turns up in nature. We also talked about Fibonacci and how he was actually called “Leonardo of Pisa” and how he brought the base ten number system to Europe. We also drew some Fibonacci spirals and then looked at the shape of a Nautilus.

The pupils were astounded by the presentation and it really inspired them. One of them even asked me “did God use the Fibonacci Sequence when he built all the universe?”! One of them then said “Sir, we are made up of Fibonacci numbers too; we’ve got 1 nose, 2 hands, 5 fingers etc…”. He then said he was going away to look at animals and see if they have numbers of limbs and features that were Fibonacci numbers. Isn’t this what we are aiming for in our pupils?¬†Initiative, enquiry, curiosity, questioning. Great!

They have all gone away super keen to find out more about the great man and to gather things to put on their posters next week.

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Thoughts on why kids struggle to understand fractions and proportion

Division (mathematics)

Image via Wikipedia

I’m at the very beginning of my teaching career. Amongst the day-to-day business of teaching, whilst on my PGCE I spent quite a lot of time thinking about how to break down mathematical ideas into key concepts that the kids could understand and thought about how best to communicate them. I found this time valuable and illuminating as it challenged my own deep understanding of concepts that I’d taken for granted. The area of maths that I have so far found most interesting to think through in this way has been proportion and the link with fractions.

Why do so many kids really struggle to understand the idea of proportion and also how you can represent it as a fraction? I’m not sure for certain but I think one explanation is that they don’t understand¬†division. Read more of this post

What does the cube look like?

I created this worksheet based on a problem on the excellent NRich Maths website.

The pupils have to use their skills of visualising 3D shapes to draw patterns on the faces of a cube net after deciphering where they should go by looking at 3D views of the cube. To scaffold the task an actual cube net is also included so they can build what they think is the right solution. There is a nice extension for the future engineers who have excellent visualisation skills.

I found this to work well with medium-to-high attaining year 7 and 8 classes.

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