Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fibonacci Sequence in Nature (Activity/Lesson)

First I'd like to say I am so much better when I collaborate with my Tweeps! They make me feel like I'm Ringo with The Beatles vs being Ringo without The Beatles! Thanks Tweeps!

My project this week is a SMARTBOARD activity you can use as part of a lesson on fibonacci sequence.

 This is a great way to show the Fibonacci Sequence in Nature

You can download my SMART Board file Here

You can download a handout in PDF format that explains this bee thing first Here

If you don't have a SMART Board, here'a a PDF with all the slides

First go through the way certain types of bees reproduce (read the first PDF).
  1. A male honey bee only needs an unfertilized female bee (no male bee required) parent.
  2. A female needs a fertilized female bee (requires a male and a female).

The first slide is a summary of the handout and short explanation of this process.

Next, we move to the activity.  We are going to trace the family tree of one male bee based on the information about the reproduction process. 

I created a table for placing bee graphics and a table for logging the generations.  In this case, we start with one male bee and go backward through his family tree.  This is a little bit different than my traditional fibonacci lessons.  BTW, I lost my whole folder for this topic and have to recreate it from scratch..ugh!

The two bees on the top of page 1 are set with the "infinite cloner" tool in SMART Board which means you can drag an infinite amount of copies of the images by clicking on it and dragging.  It's sort of like that thing the ice cream man used to make change.  Remember that thing?

We start with one bee, lets call him um Anthony.  When n=1, there is one bee, Anthony.  There he is in the bottom of the table.  We need to create the table by dragging the right combination of male and female bees into each previous generation.

Next we go to Anthony's parent.  He only has one since he's a male he only needs a female parent, so
when n=2, there is 1 bee.  Drag one female bee into the previous generation.


Anthony has two grandparents.  Since his mom is a female, she has both a male and a female parent.  When n=3, there are 2 bees.  Drag one female and one male bee into the previous generation.

One grandparent is a female and the other is a male.  The female has both a male and a female parent.  The male has only a female parent. When n=3, there are 2 bees.

I hope you get the idea by now.

The beauty of using the SMART Board for this activity here is that it allows students to make mistakes and correct them easily because they can move the pieces around, delete or add more if needed.
As @fnoschese points out in this post, the SMART Board in not necessarily the only way or the best way to have all of your students interact with learning.

@bowmanimal sold me on whiteboarding and on using larger group sized whiteboards at #TMC12.  Also @approx_normal and @calcdave contributed recently to my decision to acquire 32" x 24" whiteboards for my classes.

This fibonacci honey bee activity could also be done by small groups using their whiteboards.  I will have my classes use their whiteboards and multicolored markers to make their own version.  

I could also see this activity being done using the actual students setting themselves up as male and female bees.  So I see at least three ways to do this activity is a fun/cool way.

Ways to do this activity:
1. SMART Board
2. Whiteboards
3. Student lineup (boy | girl | B+G | G+B+G | G+B+G+B+G | etc...)
4. Make a deck of cards with male & female bees on them.

Oh!  Here is the link to the SMART Board file again.  :-)


  1. I love the bees. Much more convincing than the rabbits.

  2. This is very cool! I've never seen this lesson, but I do believe I will be stealing it this year! :) Thanks so much!

  3. This series is very special among other because of its specific pattern.This is used in encrypting information and to make programs in computer languages.

  4. Hi! This looks like a really great activity, I'm excited to do this with my class. A quick question though - it looks like the PDF links are no longer working. Could you possibly repost those? Thank you!!