Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Copy Me If You Can

Carolyn Rosier


Learning to recognize symmetry in the environment is fun as children try to copy each other as they take turns creating a butterfly symmetrically decorated with colors and shapes.


The student recognizes symmetry in the environment.

The student uses concrete materials to make symmetrical figures (for example, paper fold, paint blot).


-Large butterfly cut out of construction or project paper
-Construction paper (9 x 12 or 18 x 24)
-Butterfly stencils (one for teacher or one for each partner group). Stencils are available in Associated File.
-Small paper cutouts in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors
-Book or poster with pictures of butterflies
-Internet accessible computer, presentation station (optional)
-Bottles of glue
-Baggies or containers for paper cutouts


1. Make or buy pieces of colored paper to be used in decorating butterflies.
2. Locate books, posters or a Website for viewing pictures of different butterflies.
3. Run off/cut out large construction paper butterflies for each partner group.
4. Make a large construction paper butterfly. Tape or pin it to the board.
5. Set out markers, glue and scissors (if children are to cut their own butterfly).
6.If you are using a computer for viewing pictures of butterflies, bring up a Website such as:
Children's Butterfly Site - see Weblink below.


1. Direct children’s attention to a large construction paper butterfly posted on the board. (The butterfly should be one color with no designs on it.) Ask students:
a. how they like the butterfly?
b. what could be done to make it look more like a real butterfly?

2. After a few minutes of the children’s suggestions, look at pictures of real butterflies on a poster, in a book, or on a Website. Talk about what makes each butterfly special, how they are alike and different. Point out that the butterflies have the same designs on the left and right side.

3. Introduce the word -symmetry- and talk about other things that are symmetrical. A fun way to do this is to talk about the children’s faces. Point out that our faces are symmetrical and wouldn’t we look funny if they weren’t. Take a piece of yarn and hold it in the center of a child’s face for the other children to see. Point out that there is an eye on the left and an eye on the right, half of a nose on one side of the string and half on the other, an ear on one side of the head and another on the other side. You may even want to draw a funny face on the board that does not have symmetry.

4. Show the children that you have a container of pieces of paper shapes in varying sizes and colors. Invite 2 or 3 children to come up and help you decorate the large butterfly by choosing and taping several pieces onto the butterfly. Ask the class to comment on how the butterfly looks. Discuss:
a. does the butterfly have symmetry?
b. how can we make our butterfly look symmetrical?

5. Remove the pieces and then ask a pair of children to come up and be decorating partners. Have one child select a piece and tape it on one side of the butterfly. Then ask what the partner needs to do to help our butterfly become symmetrical. Assist the children in making sure that an identical piece is chosen and taped in the corresponding location on the other wing. Repeat several times. Encourage children to use the words symmetrical and symmetry.

6. Tell the children that they will be making their own symmetrical butterflies with a partner using the same technique demonstrated by the partners at the board. Each child will have one side of the butterfly to decorate (left wing or right wing). Help children pair up and provide each pair with a plain construction paper butterfly and a bag of colored shapes. Make sure there are at least 2 of each color/shape. Have partners write their names on the back of the butterfly before they begin gluing.

7. As the children begin working at their tables, circulate and provide feedback on the selection and placement of their first few pieces.


As the children cooperatively decorate butterflies with different color shapes and designs, circulate and formatively assess their ability to recognize symmetry and make symmetrical figures by questioning and providing ongoing feedback. Each partner’s butterfly wing should be decorated with the same shapes and colors - generally glued in the same location as the other partner’s. Projects should be completed jointly by two children who take turns leading and following as they place decorations on their wing. Each child should be able to show points of symmetry on the butterfly.


1. To provide more fine-motor practice, have children trace and cut out their own butterflies.

2. The half page stencil (See Associated File) can be enlarged on a copier and used to make a large stencil for use on 18 x 24 sized construction paper for larger butterfly projects.

Web Links

This site provides a picture gallery, a bibliography, coloring pictures, etc.
Children's Butterfly Site

Attached Files

Two butterfly stencils for teacher and/or students to use.     File Extension: pdf

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