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7 Ideas to Create Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Numbers Math Learning Centers

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Do you want to know how to implement my 7 ideas to create Golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers math learning centers for your elementary, middle, and high school home or school students? Learning about the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci numbers makes math fun for kids and relatable to the real world.

When educators create a rich interactive learning environment through math learning centers, kids will get a great big kick out of learning nature's numbers. The Golden ratio (1.618) and Fibonacci numbers sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13...etc.) are beautiful and fun numbers to play with for children.

Why Introduce Kids to the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Numbers?

Much of modern day mathematics education curriculum treats math as a separate subject, sterile and unrelated to the rest of the world and other academics. The true richness and beauty of math is completely lost in most home and school textbooks and curriculum in favor of drill and kill practice.

Is it any wonder that there's a rising trend of math phobias, anxieties, and even disabilities among youth today?

Kids just get overwhelmed and completely check out from the myriad of math problems, hours of math homework they're saddled with, thus, stealing the true joy and wonder of mathematics from their experience.

Tip #1's - #5 for Unraveling Math from Drill and Kill Education

#1. Deschool and unschool math. If you're at liberty to do what you want in your home, school, or learning center environment, first, deschool and then unschool mathematics through unschooling math methodologies.

In short, deschooling math is letting go of divided math topics, grade specific learning benchmarks, testing, lesson plans, and coercive homework. Home educators may be more at liberty to implement these ideas, unless you're specifically facilitating children at a democratic self-directed learning center or considering creating one.

Unschooling math looks like this: Create an extremely rich math learning environment that includes...

  • Living math books
  • Math Puzzles 
  • Math related Games (board games, card games, free and paid Teachers Pay Teachers downloaded print and go math game for EVERY single math topic)

  • Math-art projects

  • Cooking or baking using math

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Here's my MathArt homeschool student, Kevin, creating his beautiful and tasty Fibonacci cookies using Almost Unschoolers blog post instructions, Fibonacci Sugar Cookies. TIP: If you don't have the resources for kids to do baking, say in a classroom or learning center setting, consider modifying this baking activity by using various Play-Doh colors. 


The child is invited to freely explore and discover the math learning resources and is at liberty to self-direct what activities/projects they want to do. This methodology is very similar to the Montessori approach. You can even acquire Montesorri math manipulatives for your math learning centers, if you so desire.

#2. AND OR, use the unit study approach and weave rich math connections within children's latest learning obsessions (Hint: it might not look like learning to the adult mind... but, trust me, Math is everywhere, even in balloon animals and endless hours of Minecraft)

#3. Unit Study Approach: Create rich home and school math learning centers interwoven with science, history, language arts, and art unit study connections.

#4. Unschool & Unit Study Approach Free play. Allow PLENTY of child FREE play exploration in the math learning centers. What is free play? It's play that is directed by the children and NOT the adults.

#5. ANY Education Style: Learning the Golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers is not grade specific. Introducing these numbers can and should be introduced to children of all ages. I was 23 when I first learned about these numbers in an old beat up Time Life book from the 60's simply called, Mathematics by David Bergamini. It's never too late to learn the beauty and wonder of them!

I don’t kid you when I say that math can become the most exciting, hands-on, integrative subject in your homeschool or classroom.

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Here's a closeup of my MathArt homeschool student, Kevin, creating Fibonacci cookies in his home kitchen. Kitchens may not be as accessible in the school learning environment, but, a simple table setup with Play-Doh can mimic creating these cookies.

Math is the language of science

But, why is mathematics the language of science? It's the great mystery of the ages, yet number describes all living and non-living things we experience with all of our senses.

Mathematics history shows us that humans discovered mathematics, which makes up the fabric of the universe.

What's the Golden Ratio?

The Golden ratio is 1.618, an irrational, or infinite number.

It is:

  1. Known as a proportion of beauty 
  2. Found in the proportions of ancient buildings (Great pyramids), temples, and artwork (da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Salvador Dali's Time)
  3. Sometimes found in nature such as in the spiral arrangement of leaves, pine cones, and some seashells
  4.  Sometimes found in human or animal body proportions
  5. Used in human-made systems such as financial markets
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Here you can see the number of spiral turns in this pine cone are 5 counterclockwise turns and 8 counter-clockwise turns. Both are Fibonacci numbers. Pine cones rarely exhibit any other numbers than Fibonacci numbers. 

The best and most experiential way for home and school students to engage with mathematics is through very liberal amounts of free play time. Playing with numbers through puzzles, art, cooking, and building projects creates the necessary mathematical connections children will need into their adult lives. 

What is the Fibonacci Sequence?

The Fibonacci number sequence is 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89...etc. into infinity. Do you see the pattern? You add two subsequent numbers, or two numbers next to each other to get the next number. The Fibonacci numbers have a close relationship with the Golden ratio. If you divide the larger number by the smaller number before it, you get closer and closer to the Golden ratio or 1.618.

Fibonacci numbers are found in beautiful and unusual places such as the numbers of flower petals will many times be a Fibonacci number. The. number of spiral turns both clockwise and counterclockwise in pine cones, pineapples, and sunflower seed heads will almost always be Fibonacci numbers. There's a strong possibility of finding the Fibonacci numbers in the newly discovered mineral, quasicrystals atomic make-up.

Even tree branches grow from their trunks at a consistent 222.5° or 360° (divided by) 1.618033 = 222.5°!

Why Should Kids Learn About the Golden Ratio?

Kids should be guided to learn about real life math applications through play, puzzles, games, art, cooking, and other real life math connections. The Golden ratio is a beautiful proportion that is found in so many mysterious places. Kids learning about the Golden ratio makes math come alive and makes MATH FUN!

Tip #'s6 - #9 - How to Set up Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Numbers Home and School Math Learning Centers 

#6. Collect several old tables (think thrift stores) of various sizes and lengths and arrange them in your home or classroom.

#7. Set up various science and math learning centers on the tables using natural objects from outdoors. Use natural objects exhibiting spirals (pine cones, daisies, sunflowers etc.) and flowers with their petals intact. This will entice your kids to dive deep into math naturally, without thinking it's "math learning". 

#8. Create an interactive display of laminated Golden ratio works of art: Mona Lisa, Rembrandt's Self Portrait, Salvador Dali's, Time, to name a few. Add erasable markers where the kids can draw the Golden ratio frameworks around the paintings.

#9. Use NatureGlo's Fibonacci Numbers lapbook/interactive notebook from the Golden Ratio Fibonacci Numbers PowerPoint BUNDLE for one of the math centers.

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Children can draw these lines over blank laminated copies of the same images. The image on the left shows the entire canvas within the golden ratio. The Golden rectangle is also drawn about Mona Lisa's face. The image on the right shows that her eye is aligned with the center of the canvas. Golden ratio lines from the center of the painting to the sides of the canvas align nicely with the width of her hair. There may also be golden ratios in the vertical dimensions of the painting. Photos credit: Gary Meisner, Goldennumber.net

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Rembrandt's self-portrait here is within the golden triangle. The golden triangle, also called the sublime triangle, is an isosceles triangle wherein the ratio of the hypotenuse a to base b is equal to the golden ratio, a/b=phi.

Learning centers for math connected with topics that kids love and are passionate about such as outer space, trees, Barbi dolls, or whatever your kiddos are into, will inspire, motivate, excite, and set off your children's creative juices.

They will go into what most adults shut down and are unaware of: the child's rather remarkable creative headspace that most adults have lost.

THIS, my home and school educator friends, is the holy grail of math education!

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Here's my homeschool student, Jack, sitting outside at an outdoor math learning center, painting each of the Fibonacci numbered spirals around a pine cone.


WATCH carefully what your kids do with math when it's connected to things they love and are passionate about. The human mind is a mathematical machine making thousands, perhaps millions of mathematical decisions per second (think about the miracles of sensory awareness: sight, sound, hearing...all enabled through the mathematical calculations constantly at work etc), which most of us are unaware of. Kids will naturally WANT to make and create mathematical connections in whatever they're interested in.

Why Create Fibonacci Number Math Learning Centers? 

Fibonacci numbers have a deep and rich relationship with nature. They also have a very close relationship with the Golden ratio, by dividing the larger number by its previous number and you get closer and closer to the Golden ratio, 1.618. This is why the numbers pair well together.

The best math learning experiences are connecting mathematics with the real world. Fibonacci numbers are a beautiful and fun way to make those connections.

What is NatureGlo's MathArt?

In my math and natural sciences online unit study courses, I teach a year long course called MathArt. MathArt is a rich exploration of maths starting with a backbone of mathematics in history. We also cover the Golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers in great detail.

During MathArt, kids dive deep into ancient maths history and see the connections there are with math, art, architecture, music, nature, and literature. We study the mathematics history of the ancient Babylonians, Greeks, Maya, India, Middle East, and more!

Want access to the boiled down secrets to my MathArt program?

Home & School Educators, Get My

Math Learning Secrets eGuide below!


You'll Also Get Special Invitations to My Student Self-Paced, Pre-recorded MathArt Online Courses, Perfect For

Homeschool Kids 8+!


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Our modern day mathematics education has been replaced with a dry factory-like view of mathematics, stripped of numbers true beauty, wonder and connections with the real world.

The connections there are with the natural world and mathematics is truly astonishing, beginning with the Golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers found in the plant and animal kingdoms and even in some mineral structures!

The golden ratio can also be found in ancient architecture such as the Great Pyramid of Egypt and the Greek Parthenon. This is a natural lead into ancient history studies. These connections are like searching for hidden treasure which makes learning fun rather than a chore.

Want to get a jumpstart giving your kiddos a vision for your Golden ratio and Fibonacci math learning centers? 

Grab my Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Numbers PowerPoint BUNDLE below!

Who's the Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Numbers PowerPoint BUNDLE great for? 

This bundle is great, especially for introducing the Golden ratio and Fibonacci number concepts to home or school middle or high school math students used to and wanting more instruction from the home or school educator through PowerPoint lessons. They're great for group classroom instruction.

FULL DISCLOSURE: NatureGlo's online courses and PowerPoint BUNDLES all have been homeschool and school kid approved since 2011.  

The PowerPoints work for both the home or school setting, depending on your and your kiddos preference.

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What's the Easiest Way to Get Started with Golden Ratio and Fibonacci Numbers Math Learning Centers?

  1. Get outdoors in nature's greatest math learning center of all! Looking for Fibonacci numbers (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34...etc.) in:
  2. Look for Fibonacci numbers found in the number of spiral turns in pine cones.
  3. Look for Fibonacci in the numbers of flower petals

Conclusion

Here you've learned some quick and easy steps helping you get started with creating Golden ratio and Fibonacci number math learning centers for upper elementary, middle, and high school math students.

It's as easy as:

  1. Getting some old tables from a thrift store.
  2. Printing out and laminating a few famous paintings with some dry erase markers.
  3. Collecting natural objects such as pine cones and flowers and arranging them nicely on one of your math learning center tables.
  4. Bringing your kiddos out into Nature's greatest outdoor math learning center of all looking for the golden ratio and Fibonacci numbers..and you're off on the greatest math learning adventure and your kiddos could possibly have!


Hi, I'm Gloria Brooks! I'm into education reform! Since 2011, I've had the privilege of teaching/facilitating thousands of faith-based and secular homeschool and unschool families around the globe. I hold a BA in K - 12 education, certificates from the Wilderness Awareness school, and over 20 years of eclectic teaching and child self-directed learning experiences in private schools, and homeschool online courses with NatureGlo's eScience. NatureGlo's eScience is a one-stop nature-based eLearning center for kids ages 8- 18  helping them fall in love with the natural world while covering their other academics.

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