Children need to have hands on math activities that incorporate their senses, that require them to touch things, experiment and make observations, and that allow them time to investigate a concept further.
Teaching math with worksheets does not encourage divergent thinking or risk taking. It leads children to think that there is only one way to complete a task and that there is only one right answer. The activities below demonstrate teaching symmetry with art.
Teach Hands on Math with Art
After having your students create symmetrical pictures with blocks, s a follow-up to hands on math activities with games and blocks to learn about symmetry, introduce the children to cut and paste type symmetry fun.
Clown Face Symmetry
The first time I do the clown face activity with the students, I do it in steps, demonstrating one step, then having the children complete the step, checking to see that each child is successful.
- Beforehand, ask a parent to cut out large basic shapes and then cut each large shape in half.
- Give each child a large sheet of paper with a line drawn down the middle
- Give each student a pair of cut out shapes after you demonstrate the step. I found without the structured step by step approach, the children randomly glued shapes, missing the concept of symmetry.
- Say, “I glued a half circle on this side of my line, so I have to glue another half circle on the other side of the line.”
- Have the child glue half of a shape on one side of the line, then the other half on the other side of the line
- Keep repeating until all shapes are used up
- Use stickers to complete the symmetrical picture
Follow up activity…
- Print the shapes handout onto colored paper or on to construction paper if your photocopier allows it.
- The next day, give the students another paper with a line drawn down the middle.
- Then provide the photocopied handout.
- Children cut the shapes out and create their own symmetrical designs (a short review showing the previous work might be necessary).
Hands on math activity – Folded paper and paint symmetry
- Give each child a piece of 12 x 18 paper folded in half.
- Have them open it and place two or three teaspoons of different colored liquid paint on their paper.
- Have them close the paper.
- Demonstrate first, showing children 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.