Today is August, 5th 2013 which will be written on many school notebooks today as 5-8-13. This sequence of numbers is part of the Fibonacci sequence where the sum of the first two numbers adds to make the third number. The next Fibonacci Day would not occur till 8-13-21 and as we do not have thirteen months in a year it will not occur. How special then is today?
The 23rd November is often used to celebrate Fibonacci Day, but today is more special. Who was Fibonacci? He was Leonardo da Pisa, born in Pisa in 1175AD, the son of a merchant who travelled widely as a customs officer in North Africa. He used the knowledge he gained on his travels to write and he introduced the Latin-speaking world to the decimal number system, and thus we too now use the numbers 0 to 9 to make every other number we need.
I love patterns and have enjoyed teaching children to constantly be on the lookout for patterns both in maths and writing as well as in nature. My father was a maths teacher who also revelled in them and I have a daughter who uses them every day in her chosen career. My library has quite a collection of books that introduce students to the wonders of Fibonacci, so that they can then be inspired to count the petals on flowers, peas in pea pods, apply their new knowledge to the art of Leonardo da Vinci Here are just a few:
• Blockhead the Life of Fibonacci by Joseph D' Agnese and John O'Brien is a biography of Leonardo. It includes his childhood and how his peers treated him at school when he didn't think in the same was they did.
• Wild Fibonacci: Nature's Secret Code Revealed by Joy N. Hulme and Carol Schwartz looks at the places the Fibonacci sequence appears in nature.
• Growing Patterns by Sarah C. Campbell does a similar thing but is perhaps simpler.
• Rabbits Rabbits Everywhere: A Fibonacci Tale by Ann McCallum and Gideon Kendall embeds how quickly rabbits breed into a fun story and relates this to the Fibonacci sequence. You could read this alongside Emily Gravett's wonderful The Rabbit Problem.
• Fibonacci's Cows by Ray Galvin. This New Zealand title is a high interest easy read short novel, ideal for students who have an interest in maths.