The Rabbit Problem

Italian mathematician, Fibonacci, posed a question many years ago: if a pair of baby rabbits are put in a field, how many pairs will there be a) at the end of each month and b) at the end of the year? 

It sounds like a ecological disaster waiting to happen, but Fibonacci set up some rules:

  • Rabbits take one month to mature
  • From two months old, each pair produces two baby rabbits, one male and one female, every month.
  • No rabbits ever die.
  • No rabbits may leave the field.

It all seems a bit much, so why not add some great illustrations and humor to help us understand?

Emily Gravett’s very funny book, The Rabbit Problem tackles this conundrum. Her artwork is so cute. The book has predrilled holes like a calendar, and it would hang just like one. 

Each month is layed out like a calendar page with little scraps of rabbit life included. Some of the scraps open, like the little knitting pattern. The scraps actually have a lot of great information in them.

Eventually, the population faces problems with inclement weather, food shortages, boredom and inevitably, overpopulation. 

So how many rabbits do you have at the end of the year?

A whole lot…288 to be exact.

What a fun way to teach math, without teaching math.


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