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Fermi problems: a secret of bees

‘A secret of bees’ is a series of 7 problems that looks at an interesting feature of the family tree for bees. The series shows how to take a complicated problem and break it down into manageable parts. It is recommended that the sheets are given to students one at a time.

Initially a family tree for bees is extended and a table completed for the number of queens, drones, and the total. This requires logical thinking and following a set of instructions to build up a pattern. The results are then tabulated and from this students derive the Fibonacci sequence.

From problem 3 onwards, extensive use is made of subscript notation throughout the sheets, so it is worth to check that students are familiar with this. Calculations are then made that lead on to the ‘golden ratio’. 

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