Saturday, April 30, 2011

Math Games Week 1 - Symmetry

This week we've been doing a lot more math than usual. Or rather we've been playing and talking a lot more math than usual. Specifically, it was all about symmetry.
We went out on math scavenger hunts and checked objects for symmetry with a special symmetry checker tool (usually a pine needle or a small stick).
We mirrored each one's movements sort of like live mirrors of each other.
Tried making some symmetry art with markers...
... and with paint.

Folded and cut paper and created beautiful math stories...

... about a lonely small pine tree in the deep woods and a ray of sunshine
... about a small fish being chased into seaweeds by a big stinging jellyfish
... about a horde of giraffes snacking on palm fronds in the heat of African day
... and about a small black kitten in a dark room

Finding symmetry seems to be easy for M. He quickly identifies one or more lines of symmetry in objects. He also built a very small collection of things that are symmetrical - a globe, a small clay pot, a magnolia leaf.

He seems to be interested most in the story-telling aspect of it though. If there's a story that can be spun out of a game, he'll play it (or watch and listen) for a long time. If not, his attention wanders off quickly.

Next week - grids galore!


  1. Were students using a pattern to create the cut out symmetry art?

  2. Well, actually I cut out the symmetry art on these pictures (without a pattern). The paper was pretty thick to begin with (construction paper) and folded several times became too difficult for my 4-year old to cut. However, he did try making simple straight cuts with scissors on folded tissue paper and on folded coffee filters. He observed the symmetry and also the fact that even though he only cut once, the unfolded paper had more than one cut. We even tried to predict how many cuts would appear on a paper that was folded once, twice, etc.

  3. I just found this, Yelena. I am absolutely thrilled to see what you did folding and cutting paper. I'm in the process of planning my summer programming for inner city kids (ages 6-12) with a focus on pattern units and what we can do with them. One of the underlying concepts will be 'balance' and whole/half since I really want the kids to work with a partner for their dance/rhythm work. I need to create one-day projects that are not too frustrating and I think this fits the bill perfectly. Thanks so much for sharing it. (Also, I think this would make a great Moebius Noodles post :)

  4. Thank you, Malke. It was such a wonderful activity too. I think we will revisit it soon only this time I'll ask my son to come up with a story (I'll still be doing most of the cutting, lol)