After collecting a ripened sunflower head from their rooftop garden,
students estimate its seed count by discussing and applying several
strategies. They graph estimations on a line plot and use calculators
to find and compare the actual total. Students also research a mathematician
on the Internet and make collages of sunflower models that they present
to senior citizens.
For more about this special from
Rooftop Garden ~Planting Seeds of Service, e-mail
Lai Lai Sheung, author and
AT&T Teacher Disseminator.
Learn to problem solve, communicate, and reason strategies used
estimating large numbers.
Identify and describe a variety of patterns in nature.
Students closely examine a sunflower head filled with seeds and
a single sunflower seed.
Discuss estimation strategies. Volunteers measure an area of up
to ten seeds and determine total count.
Each student estimates total seeds and records answer on round
Prepare line plot - a graph that looks like a number line - on
mural paper. Draw a number line from one to five hundred. Label
line at intervals of fifty.
Affix labels with estimations on line plot above corresponding
numbers. For duplicates, place second label above first estimate.
- Volunteers remove seeds from sunflower head and use calculators
to count them. Compare total seed count with estimates.
- Student pairs observe natural growing pattern of seeds. Use
an oak tag worksheet to make a sunflower
model. Starting from innermost
circle, glue sunflower seeds onto sheet.
- Record number of seeds used and describe observed patterns.
- Compare pattern results of seeds in models with those in real
Students make a sunflower collage from worksheet models and present
it to neighboring senior center.
Students search the Internet for information on Leonardo Fibonacci
who first observed special number patterns in nature. Discuss math
careers: accountants, computer programmers.
A few sunflower heads (if unavailable from garden, purchase from florist
or bird store), mural or chart paper, round self-sticking labels,
oak tag, markers, two lbs. of dried sunflower seeds, glue
Students work with calculators to total the sunflower seeds and use
Internet to research numbers in the Fibonacci sequence.
Given a sunflower head of similar size, students estimate total seeds;
they also, estimate the number of seeds in sunflowers with larger
or smaller diameters.
Students locate encyclopedia website
and read about the Fibonacci Series.