Nature is full of incredible shapes and patterns. Mathematics forms the building blocks of these amazing natural occurrences. When spending time in nature, you can easily see how maths are present in plants, trees, water, rocks and even the ground.

During your next nature study session, try to see if you or your kids can spot any of these examples of math in nature: 

Spotting math in nature during nature study 

  • Hexagons

A hexagon has six sides of equal length. This unique shape is seen plenty of times in the natural world. Examples of nature using hexagons is the way bees construct their beehives, and how snowflakes are formed.

  • Symmetry

We all know how important symmetry is in mathematics. But it is also very present in our natural world. Many animals and the leaves of plants (such as orchids) have bilateral or mirror symmetry. Plants and some groups of animals, such as sea anemones, typically have rotational symmetry.

  • The Fibonacci Sequence

This number sequence was named after the famous mathematician, Leonardo Fibonacci It begins with the numbers 1 and 1, and then numbers follow by adding the two previous numbers. For example, after 1 and 1, the following number is 2 (1+1) and the next number is 3 (1+2) and so on. Examples of this sequence can be seen in how seeds and petals are presented in certain flowers.

  • Concentric circles

Concentric circles are often used in mathematics, but they are also prominent in nature. These are circles that feature the same centre but have various radii. In other words, the circles all have different sizes, one inside the other. A good example of this is in the ripples that appear on water when an object hits the surface. Another great example is the rings of trees that form as it grows.

Maths is present throughout our amazing world! 

Mathematical patterns can be seen throughout nature. Math is present in the design of a spider’s web, the number of petals on flowers, and the way shells form over time. However, it usually requires a closer look. During your next outdoor trip, be sure to see how many examples you can spot!

Nature journaling is an exciting way to explore and learn more about our amazing world. If you’re interested in nature study for yourself or your children, email me to get started.

Photo credit: 

Iris flower: Aaron Burden

Wildrose: Jeanne Blanche

Daisies: Tucker Hatch


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