Monday, May 14, 2012

Symmetry is All Around Me

It’s amazing how much in our world is symmetrical. Once you start looking, you find symmetry (both occurring naturally and man-made) everywhere!

Walking around saying “see” and “look at this” didn’t really seem like the best way to explain symmetry so I turned to Loreen Leedy for help. Her book Seeing Symmetry is wildly fun.

The graphics are bold and the explanation ever so helpful. It has TONS of examples of symmetry (whales, beetles, airplanes, the human body, certain letters of the alphabet, etc.).

The book explained vertical and horizontal lines of symmetry and even demonstrated rotational symmetry (think bicycle wheel or helicopter blade).

After reading, I handed my son his camera (our half broken old one) and told him to find at least a dozen symmetrical things and take pictures of them. He didn’t even have to leave his seat at the kitchen table to find the first one – the sunglasses perched on my head!

Soon, he was off snapping pictures everywhere in the house (it was threatening rain outside so our symmetry hunt was confined to indoors).
He was ecstatic to find an example of rotational symmetry in his bedroom: his ceiling fan!

With his pictures taken, I quick loaded them onto my computer and printed nine wallet size. Then I cut them out and handed them to him with a red colored pencil and a ruler. It was time to draw each item’s line of symmetry!


  1. I did this activity with my 3rd graders when I taught school and now that I am at homeschooling my children I am sure we will be doing it here. It's a great way to teach real life math.

  2. This is a great post. I am not sure how I found your site, but I am glad that I did. I am enjoying your approach to learning and I would love it if you would consider participating in my Monday feature - "Who Home Schools." You can find more information here - I look forward to hearing from you. -Savannah

    1. Savannah, thanks for the invite. Technically, I don't homeschool. My son goes to public school. (I think of our activities as "afterschooling.") I'll be sure and check out your site soon, though!! And thanks for the compliments. I hope you continue to find inspiration here!

  3. I love this activity! I think that lessons that tie into the kid's actual real world are the best. Thanks for sharing this fun and simple activity!

  4. You have such awesome ideas! I saw your palm pipes featured on I Can Teach My Child and wanted to come visits your site! I would LOVE for you to join us on Saturday Show & Tell at Cheerios and Lattes and share these great ideas as well. Have a great weekend!

  5. Another fabulous idea! I am so thrilled that I found your site. I love coming back to see what you came up with next.

  6. I love this! My kids love their digital cameras too, so I am sure this will be a wonderful way to tie in to their interests! I'm pinning this--thanks so much for sharing at Teach Me Tuesday!!