Teach symmetry with games and art
When teaching symmetry to young children introduce new vocabulary with hands on activities.There is not much point trying to explain new concepts to early learners verbally, unless you give them hands on experiences at the same time.
Young children will begin to understand the concept and vocabulary of symmetry if you give them time to play games and participate in symmetry activities.
Simple Symmetry Game
When teaching symmetry have children play the following game with a partner. As always demonstrate the game first.
Materials for 2 kids: Pattern blocks, dowel rod or largest size tinker toy, mat
- Give 2 children one mat
- Place a rod, such as the longest dowel stick in a Tinker Toy set in the middle of the mat
- Have child #1 put one pattern block down on his/her side of the mat touching the rod
- Child #2 copies by putting the same block in the same place but on the other side of the rod
- Continue the game with 5 or six blocks and then remove the blocks
- Repeat with child #2 starting the design
- Point out to the class that they have made designs that are symmetrical
- Explain that they are symmetrical because each side of the rod has blocks of the same color and in the same place
- Repeat the game during the next week with new partners
Integrate activities into themes when teaching symmetry
Kids love learning large words. Although they may not get them quite right in the beginning, after playing with symmetry for a week and reviewing it once or twice a month by integrating symmetry into theme activities, the students soon come to remember new words and the concepts.
Teaching symmetry by comparing real things & pictures
If you have real things in your room that are symmetrical show them to the students and ask, "Is this ___ symmetrical? Why or why not?"
If you do not have real items make simple symmetrical pictures and some that are not symmetrical (see sample) with construction paper and ask the question.
Folded paper and paint symmetry
Give each child a piece of 12 x 18 paper folded in the half. Have them open it and place two or three teaspoons of different colored liquid paint on their paper. Let them close the paper and rub the top.
Demonstrate first, showing them how to rub the top of the paper carefully but thoroughly. The kids love opening their paper to see their symmetrical butterfly designs.
For more fun, embellish the pictures with glitter glue after they dry.