Finding patterns in nature

Star from leaves

Have you noticed children’s fascination with pattern? Perhaps it’s part of their quest to make meaning of the world they find themselves in. I see it in their mark-making and block play, but especially outdoors.

Nature’s order supports children’s desire for harmony. My father was a nature lover, and I have an early memory of him showing me a certain number sequence that appears in many plant forms. Dad called it the Fibonacci series (named for a 12th century Italian). It works by always combining the last two numbers: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21… It may not look special on paper, but it sure looks beautiful on a pine cone or the centre of a flower.

While some children are thrilled to investigate nature’s patterns, others find satisfaction using natural materials to design their own. You can see this in the giant star these youngsters have made on the forest floor.

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