For this week’s Discover & Explore linky, I’m so excited to share with you how we turned a recent walk in the forest into a lesson on symmetry for children. (Don’t forget to link up your forest themed posts at the end of this post!)
Learning opportunities are everywhere you look. Even as you’re taking a walk outside, you are surrounded by boundless possibilities! As our family took a short stroll in a nearby forest, we spotted all kinds of interesting shapes and patterns in nature. Since Lucy and I had recently been reading some books on symmetry, we thought it’d be fun to examine the natural objects and see if we could find any that were symmetric. (This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.)
We took pictures of various items we found on the walk: leaves, sticks, tree stumps, and pinecones. We made guesses on if we thought they were symmetrical and talked about why. When we got home we printed out our photos onto paper to study them more closely.
From our previous readings, we learned about the various kinds of symmetry. We decided to focus on rotational symmetry (where an image can be rotated on a central point and still looks the same) and on reflection symmetry (where one half is a reflection of the other half.)
After printing out our photos, we got out a little mirror (like this one) and tested out each image. This leaf was a good example of reflection symmetry.
It took Lucy a few tries to find the line of symmetry for this group of leaves. She loved seeing all the different ways she could make image look in the mirror!
After testing the pictures with the mirror, we sorted them into three different categories: images that were not symmetrical, images that were examples of rotational symmetry, and images that were examples of reflection symmetry.
When we were done sorting the pictures, we stuck them up on our wall with poster putty. Now we can add to it with examples we find on future walks!
We also thought it would be fun to make our own examples of symmetry with nature. Have you heard of sun sensitive paper? You can place objects on the paper, and then expose the paper to light to create designs and artwork. We love creating with this!
We walked around the yard and collected some natural materials. Then we used the collected items to create a rotationally symmetric design. It was such a great way to use what Lucy had learned about symmetry to create art!
Children’s Books About Symmetry
Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy
What Is Symmetry in Nature? by Bobbie Kalman
Is It Symmetrical? by Nancy Allen
You may also be interested in this previous post using art to create symmetry: Monarch Butterfly Symmetry Art for Kids .
We’d love for you to share how you
Discover and Explore: Forest!
Currently Open– Forest
September 11– Fall
September 18– Five Senses
September 25– Pumpkins
October 2– Community Helpers
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- Share family-friendly posts related to the weekly topic — kids activities, crafts, recipes, nature outings, printables, etc.
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