Challenge 3C: Eco Atlas – Decoding Nature
(4th and 5th Grade)

For Individuals or Groups — Maximum points: 200 (1 entry per school)

YOUR CHALLENGE: Patterns in nature have fascinated scientists, mathematicians, artists and philosophers throughout history. While different types of patterns occur in a diverse range of living and non-living things such as mollusks and snowflakes, they can be observed in plants as well. Consider for example the seemingly random spiral on a pinecone, the symmetry of a flower, or even the arrangement of branches on a tree trunk. To decode the nature which surrounds them, students will explore, document and research plant patterns outside their classroom and in their community. Downloadable PDF

3C. Fibonacci Photography – Students will photograph plants with naturally occurring spirals and/or fractals, and include a “fib poem” describing their image.

ENTRY SUBMISSION: Wednesday, February 17, 2021 by 5:00 pm

Electronically submit the following:

✓  Entry Requirements:
 Entry must be emailed to and include school name and teacher contact in attachment name and the email message
 Title page of Eco-Atlas must clearly indicate school name, teacher(s), and how many students or classes were involved in the creation of book
 Eco Atlas must be 8.5” x 11”and include title page, introduction page, and photographs of plant patterns. The book can be no more than 12 double-sided pages
 Photographs included in Eco Atlas must depict spirals and/or fractals
 Written descriptions must be written in “fib poem” format
 All plants illustrated in the book must be labeled with common name
 Eco Atlas must be 2-D. Photographs of plant patterns can be full color and black/white
 On-time entry submission (late entries may not receive points)

Bring your class on a virtual field trip at Fairchild. Please visit Explorer Field Trip Programs for more information.

For more information on how your submission will be evaluated, see Challenge 3C Evaluation Sheet

This Challenge meets various state standards, visit Challenge 3C Benchmarks

Doodling in Math: Spirals, Fibonacci, and Being a Plant

The Fractal Foundation’s Fractivities
Treehugger’s 14 Amazing Fractals Found in Nature

Spirals and Fibonacci Sequence
Cambridge PLAN(E)T’s Mathematical Patterns in Plants: Fibonacci and The Golden Ratio
The Joy of Plants’ Fibonacci Numbers: The Science of Plants
Awkward Botany’s Pine Cones and the Fibonacci Sequence
wewanttolearn’s Plants, Math, Spirals, & the Value of the Golden Ratio

Poetry Foundation’s 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, Fun…
Writer’s Digest’s Fibonacci Poetry: A New Poetic Form!
Greg Pincus’ How to Write a Fib!