For the last 2 years I have focused only on math in the fifth grade classroom, and although I loved my school math program and all of the tools available to me, I missed bringing in literature into many of my lessons. Teaching in a self-contained room this year will allow me this opporutunity.
Check out the ALA notable book, Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell. Learning about Fibonacci numbers gives students confidence with the “play” of numbers. Perhaps the theory is a bit confusing because Fibonacci occurs throughout nature but there are some exceptions to the rules. Some of these exceptions cannot be explained. And of course there is always the question: What is the point of learning about Fibonacci numbers and how will it help me later in life?
My fifth graders have problems recognizing patterns and when we arrive at algebraic expressions, many students are completely lost. They have had many experiences before they have arrived in fifth grade, and I believe that some of my students just lack a bit of confidence.
After learning about the Fibonacci sequence, I would allow my small cooperative groups to generate new Fibonacci numbers using paper and pencil and then try it with their iPads. Use the iPad app Fibonacci Sequence Generator http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fibonacci-sequence-generator/id350571686?mt=8 to allow students to check their work and explore bigger numbers.
In a computer literacy center, allow students to use the Fibonacci Series Thinkquest http://library.thinkquest.org/27890/applications5.html. Students can use the Thinkquest to draw and create their own Fibonacci spirals. Think of the experience that get from using their rulers.
Students may also use the Fibonacci iPad app at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fibonacci/id308361531?mt=8. This also allows a hands-on expereince to create the spiral.
Make this into a science writing project. My intention this year to encourage students to complete one science blog experiment every 9 weeks with pictures and videos. At education.com, there is an guide for students to create an experiment at http://www.education.com/science-fair/article/finding-fibonacci-sequence-in-nature/. I would place a selection of nature materials in this center and allow students to work at their own pace.