Monday, January 21, 2008

Radial Symmetry

The fifth graders deal with symmetry quite a bit in math. We made this simple radial symmetry project in December.

The kids started with a square piece of paper then they used a template (actually a bucket) to draw a circle (the diameter of the bucket matched the width of the paper). Then they folded the paper in half both ways, then into a triangle, both ways. This divided the circle into 8 pie shapes.

Next they drew a Christmas (or winter) design into just one of the pie shapes. I asked them to use at least three elements (lights, holly, candy canes, snowmen, etc.) I also coached them to allow these elements to extend beyond the edges of the pie piece they were drawing in (they cropped the drawings to fit into the pie piece.)

Finally they transfered these designs all around the circle by folding the paper and rubbing hard with marker lids. This would transfer their pencil lines into the next pie piece.

After that they traced over their pencil lines with sharpies then colored their designs with colored pencils. I asked them to plan their colors carefully, to make their designs bold. When they were finished, they cut out their circles and mounted them onto constrution paper squares.

As the kids were transferring their designs around their circles, they were amazed at the new designs that formed. One student who normally drags his feet on every project actually got very excited about this one. He worked hard the whole time and even told me that he made another, much larger radial symmetry design at home. Many of the kids decided to give these as Christmas gifts to their parents or grandparents.

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