Symmetry is all around us. It is so common that sometimes we don’t even notice it. But the human brain is a pattern recognising machine. It tries to find patterns in everything. Teaching it how to recognise different types of patterns is an excellent way to encourage it to develop and grow. Symmetry is one of the easiest patterns to recognise and provides a primer for later pattern based learning in maths and science.
- Our My Robot worksheet gets kids to fill in the other half of a symmetrical robot. To expand on this, get students to draw their own symmetrical robot. To add a creative element they could also write a story about it. What does it do? How was it made?
- Symmetry truly is everywhere. To provide a fun example of this to your kids, find things in the class room that are symmetrical. Use mirrors to test how symmetrical something is. If you’re willing to endure a bit of chaos, you could make your classroom more symmetrical by rearranging desks or decorations.
- We often think of nature as wild and chaotic, but there are many examples of symmetry in nature. Have students find some natural objects that are symmetrical. Flowers and animals are a good place to start. You could even dive into ways in which humans are symmetrical.
- Symmetry is often used in art. It can be used to mimic the beauty of nature or to create patterns that are pleasing to the human eye. It is also subverted to draw the eye towards certain parts of the picture. Depending on the age of your students, you could have them find some symmetrical art, or you could have them research how and why different artists or art styles use symmetry.
- Exercises on symmetry also transition easily into lessons on tessellation. Tessellation is another style of pattern recognition which allows younger students to think critically about how shapes fit together.
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