Wednesday 9 April 2014

Maths: Painting Symmetry

Symmetry is a word that we get from the Greek word symmetria.  The simplest type of Symmetry is Reflection or Mirror.

I think it is maths that can be introduced at a very young age, if done in a fun way.  I think by introducing ideas at a young age, as a game, can build confidence in learning when children are older.   
This activity is fun for ages 2 - 7 as a rough guide.  As I go through this activity with you I will explain how I make this activity can be taken further to understand the maths behind the activity we are doing.
What you will need...
  • Paper - we used A4
  • Poster paint
  • Paint brushes
  • A mirror
It is important to remember that this is meant as an introduction to symmetry, it should be kept fun and children should be given time to explore the idea for themselves at the end. 
'Mistakes aren't bad they are opportunities to learn, after all you can't discover new things by doing things the same way'
Get a plain A4 piece of paper and fold it in half.
TIP: I usually keep it folded for very young children so they can only see the side that needs painting, especially if this is a new concept for them - I find it helps to reduce frustration.
Paint a number three thickly on the right half of the paper - ONLY on the RIGHT side.
You can also paint inside the three, keep the paint thick so it will transfer when you are finished.
Fold the paper again so the wet paint is pushed against the Left side of the paper that wasn't painted on.
Let them unpeel the paper and reveal the magic butterfly!

My 3 year old really enjoyed this and I used the word symmetry alongside this activity to get her used to the new word.
I found a picture book for her and used a mirror to show the children how some pictures are symmetrical.  Don't worry if all the pictures aren't symmetrical, this will show them how some things are symmetrical while other things aren't.
We then made other pictures using this technique...
Harmonie asked for a dog so I helped her made this dog.
She then explored and even though it wasn't perfect she got the idea and most importantly had fun creating and exploring the idea. 
She also discovered that if you don't paint to the edge you get two of them.  She found this most exciting, I pointed out that they were looking at each other and facing different ways.  She played with this idea until the paint had run out of her palette.

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