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# Building Symmetry with 4 & 5 year-olds

I have way too many photographs for a single post.  Although only about a dozen 4-and 5-year-olds were with me yesterday playing with symmetry, they were so engaged and made so many beautiful images, both simple and complex, that I got carried away with taking pictures.

Here’s how it went: first I talked with the kids about symmetry, how their own two eyes, two arms, two legs, and two ears are expressions of symmetry in nature.

We also looked at how using symmetry makes things that are built stronger. Then I talked about the visual beauty of symmetry, about reflections, and then about other kinds of symmetry, where something is reflected not just once, but multiple times. I had cut up some reflective mat board and adjusted them to be able to fit around a point of a hexagon.

The children used colored tiles to make designs that could be reflected.

They started simple.

But soon their designs became more complex.

No matter how their explorations went, they were wowed by the reflections.

After awhile we realized that the designs could be reflected from multiple points, which created different results.

We also looked at different images made by adjusting the angle of the reflective boards.

Now prepared to be amazed by the different looks this triangle makes.

and next…

Even as we created more and more complex designs, the thrill of the simple designs didn’t fade.

This sweet little designs becomes…

…a sweet little reflection.

When we had exhausted ourselves with building, it was time to make beaded necklaces. This is the fourth time I’ve worked with these children, and each time I make a different necklace with them. This gives the kids an opportunity to practice counting, to use fine finger control, and to practice making knots. This day, though, we included talk about making a symmetrical design.

I offered these children a choice of three kinds of symmetrical patterns to do.  The design that I didn’t photograph was pattern of two alternating colors with a large wooden bead in the middle.

I’m pretty sure that the ideas I was presenting to these kids was mostly beyond their ability to fully grasp, but they had such a good time playing around with these ideas, and seemed so engaged and excited by them that I have hopes that something about all of this stays with them in some way.

## 4 thoughts on “Building Symmetry with 4 & 5 year-olds”

1. Great! I have used reflective paper with photographs with my own art pieces numerous times. Now that I am conducting kids paper craft classes, this project seems perfect for them. Thanks, Beryl

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2. Sometimes I worry that kids will be upset that they don’t have a product to take home with them, as what happens with their reflected designs. I’m always surprised by how absolutely unattached the kids are to holding on to the images. When it’s time to dis-assmeble, they are happy to do that as they were to create. I hope you get to do a project like this Beryl. You will be so pleased at how it captivates the kids!

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