Get out your compasses, because today we are making art with circles. However, these are not just randomly sized circles. These circles are going to have specific proportions found using the Fibonacci Sequence.
I found this unique art project at What We Do All Day?
On this site they recommend the book, Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature. I found this book to be a great, simple explanation of the Fibonacci Sequence for children. This project was best suited for my son (4th grade) and my oldest daughter (2nd grade), although we all read the book together.
This post contains affiliate links to products for your convenience. If you purchase via my links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. If you would like a copy of this book, it is available at Amazon at the following link:
The Fibonacci Sequence is the series of numbers starting with zero.
0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, …
The next number is found by adding up the two numbers before it.
The 2 is found by adding the two numbers before it (1+1)
The 3 is found by adding the two numbers before it (1+2),
And the 5 is (2+3),
and on and on…
This sequence is often found in nature. From the number of petals a flower has to it’s pattern of seeds, the book Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature demonstrates these. Furthermore, squares made with widths using the numbers from Fibonacci sequence, produce a spiral and spirals are often found in nature as well.
Now that we have a little understanding of what the Fibonacci Sequence is, let’s make some circles. The first radius of our circle is going to be ¼”. From this first measurement we can find the next 6 radii for our circles. So there will be seven circles total.
¼, ¼, ½, ¾, 1¼, 2, 3¼
Now that we know our radii, we can take a ruler and mark a strip of cardboard to mark the measurements (I used a piece of a cereal box. If you follow my blog, you will see that I use cereal boxes for all kinds of patterns and crafts). We will use this to stretch out our compasses to the proper size for each circle. Just put the point on zero and move the pencil to the measurement needed next.
Now we are in business.
Use a compass to draw a circle for each of the measurements listed above.Use a different color of construction paper for each circle. (Notice they follow the sequence: ¼ + ¼ = ½ …) Is your child having trouble keeping the point, of the compass, in place while rotating the pencil? A great tip I picked up from the What We Do All Day? post, is to use a piece of cardboard under the paper. The child can poke the point into the cardboard, which will help keep it in place.
Cut the circles out. Then arrange the circles in pleasing ways on your paper. Once you find a pattern that you like, glue them into place. Ta-da! You have a unique piece of art.
Now try making a collage with this new sequence. Glue these circles on a separate sheet of paper.
Can you fill in the missing numbers?
½, ½, ____, 1½, ____, 4
This was a great opportunity to learn/practice using a compass, while learning a number sequence. Not to mention an opportunity to talk about nature. I’m sure we will be looking for the Fibonacci Sequence on our next hike. (psst…the answers are 1 and 2½)
We just used simple compasses that we had lying around. For your convenience, here’s a compass from Amazon: