Fibonacci Sequence

The Fibonacci sequence, also known as “nature’s secret code,” is the most common pattern we see in nature.

  • Fibonacci numbers start with the numbers 0 and 1 
  • To find the next number, add the previous two numbers: 0 + 1 = 1 
  • Now you have 0,1, 1. 
  • To find the next number, add the previous two numbers: 1 + 1 = 2
  • Continuing this pattern gives us 0,1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144…


Fibonacci Sequence in Plants

Let’s look at some interesting patterns in plants based on the Fibonacci sequence.

  • Flower Petals: The number of petals in flowers follows the Fibonacci sequence to allow for the best possible exposure to sunlight.
    • Example: Lily with three petals, buttercups with five petals, and daisies with 34 petals.
  • Seeds: Seed heads or pods are tightly packed in a spiral pattern following the Fibonacci sequence to maximize space. 
    • Example: Sunflower seed head and pinecone seed pods.
  • Tree Branches: As the tree develops from the main trunk, it creates branches based on the Fibonacci sequence to maintain healthy and strong growth.
    • Example: Sneezewort


Fibonacci Sequence in Animals & Space

The golden ratio is a magical number (1.618) that appears in nature because it creates shapes and patterns pleasing to the eye. 

When a number in the Fibonacci sequence is divided by the previous number, it is close to the golden ratio.

Shells: The spiraling pattern of snail shells and nautilus shells shows the Fibonacci sequence, which makes the shell strong.

Human Body: The measurement from the navel to the foot and the top of the head to the navel gives us the golden ratio.

Galaxies: Like our Milky Way galaxy, spiral galaxies follow the Fibonacci pattern. 


Shapes in Nature

Here are some common shapes we observe in nature

  • Hexagon: Beehives are made of hexagonal cells, which are the most efficient shape for packing together without wasted space. 
  • Triangle: Many insects have triangular wings, which provide stability and reduce drag, the force that slows insects’ forward motion.
  • Oval: Most animal eggs are oval-shaped because this shape allows for more efficient use of space and provides better protection for the developing embryo. 
  • Circle: Many animals, including humans, have circular pupils in their eyes. This shape allows for a wide field of vision and the ability to focus on objects at different distances.


Fun Facts

Here are some interesting facts about secret codes in nature:

  • Pine needles always come in bundles of 2, 3, or 5, all Fibonacci numbers.
  • The pentagon is a common Fibonacci pattern in nature, appearing in the number of arms on a sea star and the patterns on a sand dollar.
  • Many berries, such as blueberries and grapes, are spherical. This shape is helpful for seed dispersal, as the berries can roll away from the parent plant.
  • Spherical shapes are common in nature because they efficiently minimize surface area. Red blood cells are spherical, allowing for efficient nutrient intake and waste removal.


Let’s quickly recap what we learned about secret codes in nature:

  • What is known as “nature’s secret code?” Fibonacci Sequence
  • What magical number appears in nature and creates shapes and patterns pleasing to the eye? Golden Ratio (1.618)
  • What pattern do we see in shells and galaxies? Spiral Pattern
  • What shape are the cells in a honeycomb? Hexagon
  • What insect wing shape provides stability and reduces drag? Triangle
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