Fibonacci, Cones and Biomimicry

Pine cones can be a great source of inspiration for craft and art projects. Use goggle eyes to transform a cone into a pet, a monster, or an owl. Wrap the cone in tinsel and glitter and you have a sparkly Xmas decoration. The seeds can be glued onto a paper and a hedgehog or bird may emerge.

Cones can also provide inspiration for packing things or planning a city. This is the exciting bit about using biomimicry in the classroom, the learning can easily be transformed into creating things. The problems may require a child to look at functions and explore deeper purposes, which it is not easy but it is so much more fun and engaging than simple learning that there are special sequence that is frequently found in nature called Leonardo Fibonacci after an Italian mathematician (he did not discover the sequence instead it had been part of Hindu-Arabic mathematics for centuries).


Link to the booklet on TpT – Teachers Pay Teachers

These are Fibonacci numbers, each number is the sum of the previous two numbers.

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987. . .


0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987. . .

Use glitter glue pens and see if your cones are arranged in spirals corresponding to Fibonacci numbers. Sometimes the number may not be an actual Fibonacci number but often they are close to the Fibonacci sequence. Go here for some great photos where the scales of the pinecones have been numbered.


Photo: Fibonacci in Nature

Why is it useful to arrange seeds in spirals?

Patterning seeds in spirals of Fibonacci numbers helps to pack as many as possible seeds on a cone.

How can you use this?

Perhaps you can pack things in spiral pattern using the Fibonacci sequence to save space. Big things like solar panels or houses. . . or small things like snack chip bags. . .

A great video by Vi Hart, you can read a blog post about her here.



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