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Recognizes symmetry

Featured Math Vitamins:

Building Symmetrical Objects

In this Math Vitamin, students explore the concept of symmetry in objects found in outer space by building symmetrically with pattern blocks.

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook

Story:"Goodness Gracious! These stars, moons, and planets are not only symmetrical left to right, but also top to bottom!"

Harold is blasting off for one last adventure! On his journey, his eye was drawn to many symmetrical sights in space. Invent a new sight for Harold to see that has at least TWO lines of symmetry!

Inspired by Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson; HarperCollins, 1998

Suggested manipulatives: Pattern blocks, Pentablocks, sticks or pencils to lay over shapes or small mirrors (if available) to look for symmetry. For younger children, you may want to use die-cut pattern block shapes for students to glue onto their design documentation.

Prep time: 5 minutes to gather blocks, pencils or mirrors (if available) and 20 minutes if you are going to make die-cut shapes for gluing.

Classroom time: Asking children to do their best work for each Math Vitamin assumes that some children will need a longer time than others. Ideally you want to offer a block of time for Math Vitamin projects and have another task available (writing, free exploration, etc.) for those students who finish work prior to their peers. For this project allow 20-45 minutes for students to work through all the steps.

How to individualize/stretch: For students who are just beginning to “see” symmetry, give them unifix cubes, color tiles or multilinks to start building designs. Once they have the idea of symmetry, give them four pattern blocks (two yellow hexagons and two blue parallelograms, for example) and ask them to make a design that looks the same on both sides. Watch to see how they interpret this and have them check with friends to see if friends agree that their design is symmetrical. The goal of this benchmark is to recognize symmetrical designs. For those students needing a stretch, ask them to create shapes with horizontal and vertical symmetry. Additional stretches could involve rotational symmetry as well.

Math Vitamins:

Ages 3-6

Complete Symmetrical Plants

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook Antsy, Fan C., and Grant have been so INFLUENCED by the plethora of Pattern Block plants that they have decided to make their own. After creating his plant, Grant exclaimed, "Oh my goodness! My plant is symmetrical!"

"Oh, you mean that there is an exact matching of parts on opposite sides of a dividing line? Like that plant beside Grant?" Antsy responded. "Symmetry is everywhere!" announced Fan C. "Like this letter A, this cookie, and even the two of you!"

The 3 ants got started building symmetrical plants, but they need your help finishing them. Pick a half-finished plant and help design the other side. Build, draw and record your design. Have fun!

Complete Snowflakes

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook It's snowing symmetrical snowflakes! Wilson "Snowflake" Bentley was the first person to photograph a single snowflake crystal. In his lifetime, he captured over 5000 snowflake pictures and never found two alike. WOW!

Before he had his special camera, Mr. Bentley attempted to draw snowflakes before they melted. We have some of his early sketches. Let's help him complete his drawings. Remember from yesterday that snowflakes have 6 branches and are symmetrical.

Finding Lines of Symmetry in Built Shapes

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook While looking at triangles yesterday, we discovered that some shapes, when divided down the middle, are the same on both sides. This line is called a line of symmetry. Let's explore lines of symmetry today using our Geoboards.

Make some interesting and different shapes on your Geoboard. Record them onto the Geoboard paper, making sure to write the coordinates. How many lines of symmetry can you find?

Testing for Symmetry

| Download Math Vitamin :   PDF   Notebook An object is symmetrical if at least one side is a REFLECTION of the other. Let's explore this further. Find a partner and use the Pentablocks to build a collaborative design. Hold a mirror next to it and observe its reflection. What do you notice? What else can you discover when you move the mirrors or change your design?

Math Continuum > Developing > Recognizes symmetry