Activity time: 30 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Large sheets of paper for all participants
- Fibonacci plants and vegetables, e.g., several stalks of broccoli or cauliflower tree, a pineapple, a pinecone, plant leaves with raised veins, a tree branch with sub-branches, flowers in bloom, a banana (inside the peel, the fruit grows in three parallel sections; three is a Fibonacci number)
- For ink stamping: Paper, and ink pads—as large as possible—in a variety of colors
- For pattern rubbing: Lightweight tracing paper; pastels, chalk or crayons; scissors (including left-handed scissors); and tape and glue sticks to share
- Drawing paper and pencils
- Optional: Painter’s tape or push pins to display finished artwork
Preparation for Activity
- Obtain Fibonacci plants and vegetables: broccoli, blossomed flowers, tree leaves, tree branches. You will need enough for four work stations. Designate the more hardy items to be ink-stamped or used as a texture for rubbing on paper. A fragile tree branch or a bouquet of tulips, for example, belongs at the “drawing from observation” station. To avoid food waste, acquire items past their prime.
- Set materials at work tables to create four stations: one for ink-stamping with plants, one for rubbing patterns on paper, one for drawing from observation, and one for assembling a final artwork (provide large sheets of paper, scissors, markers, tape or glue sticks).
- Identify a large tabletop or a wall space to display finished artwork.
Description of Activity
Participants make a hands-on, artistic exploration of patterns in nature using items with Fibonacci properties.
Ask the group how they think Fibonacci discovered so many natural processes follow the same pattern. Affirm that he had to pay close attention to a variety of plants and animals, observe details over time, and open his mind to revelation—the surprises of understanding that can come from paying close attention, making connections, and noticing patterns.
Invite participants to look for patterns as they make artwork with natural items. Tell them all the items you have provided have a Fibonacci pattern. Challenge them to seek patterns of shapes as they work. Allow participants at least 10 minutes to work at one or more stations. With 10 minutes remaining, encourage all participants to gather their artwork onto one large sheet of paper. Invite them to write their name and add any notes, calculations, or drawings to indicate patterns they found.
With five minutes remaining, display participants’ artwork. Invite volunteers to share any revelations that may have come during this activity.
Including All Participants
Encourage and help a non-sighted participant to observe in a tactile way and make a tactile representation of their observations. As appropriate, invite non-sighted participants to touch as well as hear detailed descriptions of the natural items as well as others’ artwork.