Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Symmetry Collage

Diana Dome
Palm Beach County Schools


Students investigate symmetry. They compose their own collages and bulletin board borders using the standards of symmetry. The use of children's literature, hands-on manipulatives, and the Internet will be incorporated.


The student understands basic concepts of spatial relationships, symmetry, and reflections.


-Murphy, Stuart. [Letís Fly a Kite.] Harper Collins, 2000. ISBN 0-06-0280352. Two children learn about symmetry while going to fly their kite at the beach.
-King, Andrew. [Math for Fun, Plotting Points and Position.] Copper Beech Books, 1998. ISBN 0-7613-0852-0. This book is a great resource for different projects that reinforce math concepts.
-Paper for each student for bulletin board border
-Paper for each group to use as the base for their collage composition.
-Pencils and Pens
-Shapes to show the class as examples
-Examples of completed borders and collages
-Computers for each pair of students
-Link on the computers to the math games


1. Prior to the lesson have the computers setup with the following Websites bookmarked:
2. Have the book [Letís Fly a Kite] by Stuart Murphy available along with what questions you are going to ask the class about the book.
3. Examples of shapes and their lines of symmetry need to be available.
4. Make sure all materials are out and available along with examples for the students to look at.
5. Clear a bulletin board to show the students art/math work.


**Prior to the lesson have the computers set up with the Websites bookmarked for easy student access.

1. The lesson will start out with the teacher reading the children's literature book by Stuart Murphy, [Letís Fly a Kite.] The story tells of a brother and sister who are constantly arguing over their space. Their babysitter finds a way to put an end to their arguing by dividing every symmetrical, so they each have an equal amount. After reading the book, ask students if they could relate to this story? How were the Bob and Hannahís problems solved? Did it matter which way their things were divided? Why did it matter? Record the student responses on the board. This would be where the word "symmetry" is introduced. Once all responses are given, write them on a piece of paper and display on a bulletin board for a reference.

2. At this time group the students into pairs and have them go to the computers. There should be enough computers for pairs to work on. Advise the students to click on the appropriate link on the screen to get them to the geometric design Website. Advise the students exactly where to go on this site. They are to create a geometric design and try to find its line of symmetry. Allow approximately 15 minutes for each pair at the computer.

3. Advise students to go back to their seats. As a class we will discuss what the students found out while working on the computer. Ask them if they found any patterns, or realized anything else while finding the line of symmetry. Show some more examples of the line of symmetry and have students discuss why and where this line of symmetry is.

4. To exemplify symmetry to the students, they each make their own bulletin board border. Each student will get a piece of paper and scissors. They will fold the paper in half twice. With the paper still folded they will cut off a square from one end. Each student will draw a design in pencil on the paper. It is important that when they draw the design that it touches both sides of the square where the folds are. (If you do not, when you cut of the shape all the bunting will fall into pieces.) Continue with these directions to students as you model this: Now cut out the design while it is still folded. Do not cut the sides where the shape meets the edges. Then unfold the paper-- lots of perfect mirror images of your original shape will appear!

This is actually an example of reflective symmetry, which you may choose to discuss with your class. Have the students find all of the lines on symmetry on their designs and discuss with the class.

5. Once this discussion is complete, advise students that they will now become masters on symmetry by completing one more project. They will be cutting out pictures from a magazine to make collages. They will only cut out those objects that are symmetrical. By folding the shapes or placing a small mirror on its edge across the middle of the shape, find and draw the line of symmetry on each. After they have enough shapes cut out, they will glue them to their papers. Show a collage with symmetrical shapes that you have made. At this time each group of students will get magazines, a piece of paper, a marker, mirror, scissors, and glue. The groups will consist of 4 students each. One student will be the recorder (gluing the shapes to the paper), one the reporter, one the timekeeper, and one the encourager.

6. Advise students when their time is up. Have each group show the class the collage and describe a few of the shapes that they found and their lines of symmetry.

7. By now the students should understand the line of symmetry, but if not continue doing more projects and discussions on symmetry. There are many different art projects that are available.

8. Display the bulletin board boarders the students made. Actually use them for your boarders instead of the pre-made purchased boarders. On one of the bulletin boards, display the collages the groups made.

9. In their math journals (or on a piece of paper) as a formative assessment, ask students to tell what the word symmetry means by giving the definition of it or an example.


1. After reading the book, ask for questions and give corrective/positive feedback about the topic of symmetry.
2. Assess the collages, making sure that all the figures they cut out and marked are symmetrical. Allow those who need more practice to add to their collages.
3. Assess students through teacher observation while watching students work with manipulatives. Offer feedback and guidance.
4. Assess students through observation while designing their geometric figure on the Web.
5. Assess individual journal entries (or question answers). Criteria is that students correctly describe symmetry through a definition or example.

*Note: This lesson only assesses symmetry.


To extend the concepts into everyday life, have the students walk around the school and record all of the things that they see that have symmetry. For example, leaves, flowers, insects, wall, eraser, etc.

Students could also bring in various items of clothing that he or she thinks are symmetrical. Fold the clothes to check. Do any articles of clothing have more than one line of symmetry? Why do you think so many items of clothing are symmetrical?

They could also make placemats by drawing around a large plate and cutting the circle out. Fold it in half and fold it in half again and once more, so the shape is of a triangle. Now, use scissors to cut out small parts. When finished you can laminate and they can actually use these.

They could also make kites by following a kite pattern.
Other books on symmetry that may be used are [Reflections] by Ann Jonas, [Lao Lao of Dragon Mountain] by Margaret Bateson-Hill, and [Kites] by Demi.

ESOL strategies used include: using manipulatives such as the books, collages and borders; encouraging the children to think aloud while trying to solve the problems; having the children give oral explanations of what and how they were thinking; grouping students heterogeneously during their computer and manipulative work; using technology while the students were playing the math games; repeating key terms while giving directions; and relating symmetry to what the students already know.

Web Links

Students can create their own geometric designs and try to find the lines of symmetry.
Geometric Shapes

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