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Symmetry – Activities for your Class

Teaching Symmetry

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Understanding symmetry can sometimes be a challenge – especially for those children who are not “visual learners”-. To help, I am going to share 7 activities that you I have found useful in class.

Names

This is another one that can help make a lovely display. Ask your pupils to write their names on papers and a line of symmetry and draw the mirror image. To challenge those working at GD ask them to have their line of symmetry across their name and at an angle.

Draw the Image

On your IWB using Paint (or whatever graphics program you are comfortable with – you can use word), draw a line (line of symmetry/mirror) and an object. Challenge your class to copy what you have drawn and draw the mirror image of the object on a piece of paper.

Once they have seen you complete the image ask them to work in pairs. For children working at GD, have the object span across the symmetry line. (Use your judgement whether to incorporate colours into the object.)

See who can come up with the most interesting design.

Paper Planes

One of the classic symmetric activities is paper planes.

There are lots of instructions online showing different ways of folding paper planes, and almost all of them need to use the knowledge of symmetry. Try to organize a competition within your class to see who can fold the best paper plane that flies the furthest.

Paperdolls.

Prepare some papers, fold them in half and ask your pupils to draw “half of a person” with the middle of the person meeting the fold. (I’m sure you know how to make paperdolls.

Ask your pupils to cut out the people with scissors, unfold the paper and colour them. Let pupils vote for the one that looks the best ones. These when painted these can make great classroom displays hung on washing lines. (I usually only left them up 1-2 weeks.)

If you want to expand the activity, you can fold the papers in a concertina effect a number of times and have the dolls holding hands, to produce the classic paperdoll look.

(Of course, Julia Donaldson’s Paperdolls is a lovely book.)

Flags

Prepare some images of national flags of different countries and ask pupils to identify the ones that have lines of symmetry.

Technology

Apps like Geometry with Emile can help your pupils answer hundreds of questions on symmetry without any marking. Challenge another class and see whose students work the hardest, make the most progress or are the best at geometry.

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