09 December 2008

Looking for patterns in nature (or spotting spirals and seeing symmetry)

Take a look at this ivy leaf; what do you notice about the pattern? 


Tommy told us that as both halves of the leaf are the same, it is symmetrical. 

Meghna showed us some beautiful butterfly pictures.  These too had symmetrical patterns, made with spots and stripes.


Viivi's snowflake patterns are also symmetrical (both the one she made herself and real-life ones!)

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Viivi also brought us some sea urchins.  We noticed that these too were symmetrical, with their striped and spotted patterns.


Even Virginia's squash is almost symmetrical.  It too has a stripy pattern; of orange and yellow.


What other things in nature can you think of that have symmetrical  patterns?

We also found a different kind of pattern.  It began with the obvious spiral of this fossil that Leon brought.


That got us thinking.  We also found a spiral pattern in the huge shell that Quentin brought to show us.

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And then we looked really closely at this pine cone (that Aabis had found).  What do you notice about the way in which it grew?


The next time you are out and about 'in nature' take a much closer look at the things you see.  Where can you spot spirals?

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Where do you see symmetry?

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