Friday, September 12, 2008

sunflowers and sequences

Our sketchbooks finally arrived on Wednesday, so we were ready to start our nature study! I'm very excited about taking on a nature study here in the city. It will be a challenge and I think that's part of the fun... we'll be discovering new parts of the city with each outing!

Today we started our first challenge from the Handbook of Nature Study blog. I had planned all along to just start at challenge #1, but when I saw the latest challenge, I decided that we would do that one first. It was the Sunflower challenge.

We started by reading a bit in this book...

Handbook of Nature Study

Then, because I had just picked up a bunch of living math books from the library, I decided to throw a little math into our study. Thursday night I had been skimming this book...
Go Figure! A Totally Cool Book About Numbers

and came across the section about the Fibonacci Sequence and it's occurrence in nature. Given that the numbers of the spirals of florets are Fibonacci numbers, I thought it worked to add this in. We also read that the number of petals in a flower is often a number from the Fibonacci sequence. So we decided to take a peek at many of the other flowers we passed.

Here the kids are counting petals...
The impatiens had 5 petals... a Fibonacci number.

Alex counted the petals on this flower on this tree...
five petals again...
Then we arrived at the sunflower patch around the corner.

It was cool to see the spirals on this one...
This one was a bit droopy, so Alex held it up for me to photograph it...
and then I held it up for them so they could get a better look.

There was a flower bed there too so we couldn't help ourselves but to start counting petals again.

This one...
... had 34 petals, another number from the Fibonacci Sequence.

This one...
... had 8, yes, another Fibonacci number!

It's oddly addicting to keep counting flower petals. At first I was sad that we didn't read about this during the summer when everything was in full bloom... but then I realized that we would never make it anywhere because we would be constantly counting petals. (I did stop twice to count petals on our way home from dinner.)

It was raining the whole time we were out, so we didn't last too long.

When we got home, I got out their new sketchbooks and let them draw whatever they wanted from our walk.

This is Clara's...
and this is Alex's...
(he was much more enthralled with counting the petals on these flowers than he was with the sunflowers... sigh)

To begin with, I'm not requiring anything when it comes to their journals. I just want them to enjoy doing them and the rest will come eventually. :-)

I think we'll do a bit more work with sunflowers next week... but I wanted to get started before the flowers around the corner were gone.

1 comment:

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

Fabulous post...love the info on the Fibonacci numbers. We read about that not too long ago and the sunflower is such a great subject to study.

Great journals....looking forward to your next study.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom