School workshop: Finding Fibonacci

A two-hour workshop which invites pupils from Years 5, 6 and 7 to discover the mathematical patterns hidden in nature.

Seed granite sculpture

Workshop overview

What happens: Students are sent on a journey around the biomes to collect a plant-based data set. From the class data set they then identify commonly occurring numbers which lead them to the Fibonacci sequence.

Using further examples from the natural world and a geometric drawing activity they begin to realise that mathematical patterns are at work all around us, from the spiral shapes of the Milky Way to the packing of seeds in a sunflower head. 

Finally, students are challenged to investigate Eden’s iconic Seed sculpture and take a closer look at the Core building to see how people, art and architecture have also been influenced by this intriguing sequence of numbers.

Location: This takes place in a workshop room inside our purpose built education centre, as well as in our Biomes.

Skills and curriculum links

This workshop enables students to:

  • use observational skills to collect a primary data set from the natural world
  • extrapolate the Fibonacci sequence from their data set and look for further evidence in the world around us
  • understand the significance of maths and mathematical patterns in shaping the world around us

We've designed the workshop to help teachers cover the following subject areas:

At Key Stage 2, Maths, students should be taught to perform mental calculations, solve problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and generate, identify and describe linear number sequences.

At Key Stage 3, Maths, students should be taught to generate terms of a sequence from either a term-to-term or a position-to-term rule and recognise arithmetic sequences and find the nth term. They should develop their mathematical knowledge to solve problems.

Practical information

Year group: Years 5-7

Length: 2 hours

Group size: Up to 35 pupils

Cost: £5.40 per pupil, with a minimum charge of £108 per group (includes VAT)

This includes:

  • a facilitated workshop with our Education Team
  • free access to the Eden site for the day
  • all equipment needed for the workshop
  • free teaching resources enabling your class to prepare for the workshop and to follow up on the activity (download a sample copy)
  • a personal welcome from the Education Team at the entrance
  • a base for your bags in our purpose-built education centre, The Core
  • a space to eat your own lunch or the opportunity to eat in one of our unique cafes
  • free entry for accompanying adult helpers, whose participation is essential to the success of the day (please note our maximum adult/pupil ratios are as follows: KS1, 1:5; KS2 and KS3, 1:10; KS4 and KS5, 1:15) 
  • a free preparatory visit to Eden for teachers wanting to plan their school trip, which should be booked in advance

The children loved the investigative nature of the workshop; it promoted great thinking and enquiry skills and the children are still talking about it back at school.

Teacher at St Merryn School