The Fibonacci Sequence Through Art Lessons

It is easy to combine math and arts lessons to create motivating and interesting activities.

By Andrea Ferrero


Fibonacci spiral

Moving outside the text book and exploring the world's mysteries can inspire curiosity and promote explorations of different subjects in the classroom. The Fibonacci Sequence can provide a wonderful way to explore multiple subjects in a real-world context.

The Fibonacci's Sequence is a pattern of numbers beginning in 0 or 1 in which each number is the sum of the two previous numbers. For example: 0,1,1,2,3, 5, 8 and so on. It has been formulated and used in mathematics, art, and music. The Fibonacci Sequence is a fun pattern to share with students. 

I love introducing students to the Fibonacci Sequence using stories. You can share information about Leonardo of Pisa, also known as Fibonacci, who loved mathematics and exploring the natural world. There are many web resources detailing his study of rabbit reproduction patterns and the formulation of the sequence. I also like using picture books such as Ann McCallum's "Rabbits Rabbits Everywhere" and "Wild Fibonacci" by Joy N. Hulme and Carol Schwartz. Both tales build student excitement and energy about the Fibonacci Sequence, while making it very accessible and understandable. 

After being introduced to the sequence, I ask students to think of everyday places they might find "fibonacci numbers." During a class brainstorm students might suggest things like flowers, spiders, leaves, and more. We then look at our list for collectible items which we could find around the school. We go on a walk picking up "Fibonacci numbers" to include in personalized collages. Each student records the phrase "I found the fibonacci sequence in . . . " and then attaches their items using glue or tape. For an extra artistic element students can use warm and cool colors around the alternating Fibonacci numbers. 

Lessons Using the Fibonacci Sequence: 

Numbers in Nature 

Students explore the origins of the Fibonacci sequence then circulate through a group of centers. Each center (flower petals, seed heads, pine cones and more) allows students to discover the fibonacci sequence in nature. 

Fibonacci Numbers

Students view a video about the fibonacci sequence then take part in a variety of extension activities. The supplemental activities include looking for patterns in current technology, sketching objects that represent the pattern, and discovering the sequence in nature.

Jazz and Math: Improvisation Permutations

Students explore improvisation in creating dramatic pieces including movement and music. They explore and implement the Fibonacci sequence in creating their jazz and blues rhythmic combinations.