Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Simply Symmetry

Fatima Ginoris


This activity is an introduction to symmetry using a hands on approach.


The student determines lines of symmetry of two-dimensional shapes by using concrete materials.


-Large construction paper shapes (circle, square, rectangle, triangle, rhombus, hexagon, etc.)
-Small construction paper cut outs of shapes (evenly divided for each student)
-Hand out with various shapes (may include a circle, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon,
rhombus, right triangle, pentagon, or any other shapes that have been discussed.)
-Manila folders one for each student
-Hand out with shapes, one for each student
-Overhead projector, overhead transparency and vis a vis pen
-Sheet of rectangular shaped construction paper


1. Duplicate copies of shapes hand out (teacher made depending on shapes discussed).
2. Cut out large construction paper shapes and tape throughout the classroom.
3. Cut out small construction paper shapes and place tape behind each shape.
4. Make sure you have manila folders for each student (letter size).
5. Have access to an overhead projector, transparency paper and a vis a vis pen.


NOTE: This lesson instructs and assesses the studentís ability to understand and determine lines of symmetry.

1. Before beginning the lesson, tape large shape cut outs throughout the classroom and make sure the shapes are visible to all the students (circle, square, triangle, hexagon, rhombus).

2. Introduce the lesson by holding up a large sheet of rectangular shaped construction paper, and ask the students to visualize in how many ways they can fold the paper in half evenly.

3. Give the students about two-minutes. Then ask several students to fold the paper in half evenly until all the even folds have been demonstrated.

4. Trace the folds to illustrate the basic concept of symmetry. Discuss how this shape can be folded in different ways and still be symmetrical.

5. Ask the students to look at the different shapes taped throughout the classroom and visualize the various ways in which the shapes can be folded in even halves.

6. While the students look at the shapes, walk around the classroom and randomly tape the small shape cut outs on the studentsí shirts. Each student should have one shape on his/her shirt. There may be up to five students wearing each shape (five circles, five triangles, etc.)

7. Ask individual students to name a shape they see taped in the classroom. Ask all students wearing that shape on their shirt to stand with their pencil in hand and stand in a group next to that shape on the wall. (This will be the group the student will work in.)

8. Select one student as group leader. That student will remove their groupís shape from the wall and the students work with their group to fold the shape in even halves and trace the shape with a pencil to illustrate the lines of symmetry.

9. Upon completion, each group will come up one by one, tape their shape on the board, and the group leader shares the results. (Make sure students understand that not every shape can be folded evenly, therefore it does not have symmetry. Always share a shape like a rhombus to demonstrate this quality.)

10. After sharing the results, the students return to their seats and try the activity on their own.

11. The students have their pencils and rulers on their desk. Distribute the hand out with the shapes, the manila folder, glue, and scissors.

12. On one side of the manila folder the students write in large letters -Simply Symmetry- in order to create a booklet. This will be the title of the symmetry booklet they will be creating.

13. Ask the students to open their manila folders and place it flat on their desk. The students will individually cut out the shapes, glue the shapes inside the folder in any order as long as both the left and right hand side of the folder are filled with shapes, and use their rulers to trace the lines of symmetry. The students may fold the shape prior to gluing it in order to better determine the lines of symmetry.

14. Once the students have completed this activity, ask them to share their results.

15. Individually select a shape and randomly ask the students to share what they determined was the symmetry of that particular shape until all the shapes have been discussed.

16. While students are sharing, give them feedback while drawing each shape on an overhead transparency and recording the studentsí correct answers.

17. Share the transparency on the overhead and ask the students to compare their answers to the answers on the transparency.


Students are observed participating and discussing the results of their group activity.

The students individually record their answers on their symmetry booklets and demonstrate an understanding of how to determine the symmetry of shapes by tracing the lines of symmetry of each shape and illustrating the various ways that each shape may or may not be symmetrical.

Students will compare their answers to the answers recorded by the teacher on the overhead projector in order to assess understanding (example: at least 6 out of ten shapes should be answered correctly).
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