"Nature's Poetry"

4th Grade Activity - Teacher Directions

Background:

The naturally occurring growth pattern found in nature, such as the growth of pine needles explained in the math activity, Pine Tree Number Patterns, was discovered by the Italian mathematician, Leonardo Fibonacci in the 1400s. This growth pattern, called the Fibonacci Numerical Sequence is as follows: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, . . . For more information, read this article: "Nature's Poetry: Fibonacci Verse," by Vicki Almour, Reading, Writing, Thinking Magazine; March 2002.

Skills:

Mathematics: Number patterns
Language Arts: Poetry

Materials:

Procedure:

  1. Ask students to select something from nature: one of the animals or plants from the Pineywoods region or their favorite flower.
  2. Have students brainstorm adjectives and verbs describing this selected topic.
  3. By choosing words and phrases from their brainstormed list, have students create a poem about their topic using the first 5 numbers from the Fibonacci numerical sequence as a pattern or structure for the poem.
  4. The first five numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5 are used as a poetic pattern, much like the ancient Haiku poetry of Japan, with the Fibonacci number being the number of words or the number of syllables on each line of the poem. The poem does not need to rhyme. Have students illustrate their poems. For a challenge, have students write another poem or stanza. The following is an example using the numerical pattern as the number of words per line:

    Pineywoods
    Forest
    Evergreen loblollies
    Branches and needles
    Pinecones drop to the ground

Activity developed for TPWD by Vicki Almour.


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