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Patterns in Nature
Patterns occur everywhere in nature and not by chance either. Look around while enjoying your parks and draw what you see or take a picture of it and share with us. Can you find an example of each of these types of Symmetry Patterns?
Bilateral Symmetry – mirror image which means it has exactly similar parts facing each other or around an axis. Example of this is a Black Swallowtail, photo 1, that visits many of our flowers in the parks.
Wall Paper Symmetry– repeated pattern that covers a plan like in a mosaic. Example is a honeycomb in a bee hive. Mathematicians believe the hexagonal figures is the perfect shape to allow bees to store the largest amount of honey while using the least amount of wax.
Radial Symmetry – Spider web – scientist believe that the orb web spider builds nearly perfect circular webs with almost equi-distance radial supports for strength. Radial symmetry helps to evenly distribute force of impact when prey hits the web resulting in less rips in the silk thread.
Numerical Symmetry - Fibonacci Sequence as 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 (each previous two numbers adds up to the next number). If you take the time to count the number of seed spirals in a sunflower, you will find the amount of spirals adds up to a Fibonacci number! Photo 4 is a sunflower head we grew in the sunflower field at Chrisholm Historic Farmstead. Try counting a pine cone or an artichoke and you will get the same result.
Go out and explore the parks to find patterns everywhere!
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MetroParks provides opportunities to experience open green spaces near home. Pick the time of day that fits your busy schedule to spend some time with nature. Hike a trail, wander through natural habitats, view wildlife or just play! Please consider donating to further MetroParks ability to provide these resources.