- Introduction: Let the kids know that April is National Poetry Month. We are going to learn about a fairly new form of poetry, and they will write their own poems either today or next week (depending on whether we are in the classroom because of testing). Ask them to name forms of poetry they're already familiar with. If someone mentions haiku, that will make a good segue.
- Discussion (taken from davidparker.com): Write the numbers 1 3 5 7 on the chalkboard. Ask the students what number comes next. Usually a student will correctly guess 9. Ask for the next number in the sequence. Ask the student who answers how she or he knew that was correct. Students will offer explanations such as "You're skipping a number every time." If they don't bring it up themselves, point out that these are the odd numbers.
Write the numbers 1 4 7 10 on the board. Ask for the next number (13). Ask for the number after that (16). Ask the students to explain the pattern (adding 3).
Write the numbers 1 2 4 7 11 on the board. Ask for the next number. It may take a few guesses for the students to come up with the correct answer of 16. Ask for the next number (22). Ask the students to explain the pattern. It may take several minutes for the students to figure out this pattern. Often they will say, "You're skipping two numbers." I respond by referring to the sequence and asking whether I am skipping two numbers between 1 and 2. I then ask what is happening between 2 and 4. As we proceed along the sequence a few students will guess the rule. They usually express it as "skipping one, then you skip two, then you skip three."
Now it's time for the challenge. Write the numbers 1 1 2 3 5 on the board. Ask the students what comes next. There are usually only one or two kids who figure it out: To get the next number in the sequence, you add the previous two numbers, i.e. 1+nothing=1, 1+1=2, 1+2=3, 2+3=5, and so on. This is called the Fibonacci sequence.
- Activity: Explain that "Fib" poems were invented by the author Greg Pincus, and the Fibonacci numbers indicate how many syllables are in each line. Make sure the students understand what syllables are; give several sample words and ask for the number of syllables in them. Then write the numbers vertically down the board and tell the kids that you're going to work together on a class poem. Ask for a topic, then for the lines. Explain that ideally, the last line should sum up the rest of the content.
Fibonacci poem together