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PreK Art and Science: Popsicle Stick Symmetry

Resources:

Murphy, Stuart J. Let’s Fly a Kite. 2000.

“Making Shapes.” Education.com. 2013. http://goo.gl/g3aOx9

Schwake, Susan. “Fold Me a Print.” Art Lab for Little Kids. 2013. p 76.

Supplies:

For the Mirror Demo:

Symmetry mirror

Household objects, some symmetrical, some not

For “Making Shapes” Take Home:

20 craft sticks/child

Markers in assorted colors

For “Fold Me a Print”:

Cover Stock

Paintbrush

Poster Paint

Newspaper

Palette

Wash Water

Preparation:

1 Day before:

Prepare bags of 20 craft sticks each, along with instructions and one example set. Be ready to do this activity if there is time, but also make it understandable in case it’s a take home activity.

Day of:

Cover work area with newspapers/table cloths. Create an example of the folded print.

Lightly draw a line of symmetry on the card stock, some vertical, some horizontal.

Set up each station with easy access to a palette of paint, a piece of cardstock, and a paintbrush. Children may choose to use their fingers instead. Have hand wipes available if this is the case. Pre-fold some of the card stock for those who can’t quite fold, making it easier for them to get a good symmetrical fold.

Activities:

Paraphrase Let’s Fly a Kite for the group. Some things are the same on both sides of a line – like the beach blanket, the kite, and the sandwich. What about some other household items? Hold up things like a fork, a mug, and a picture of a pizza. Are they symmetrical? Why? Show them the line of symmetry on each item using the mirror. For non-symmetrical items, have them say what’s wrong (e.g. there’s 2 handles on the mug).

For the activity, have children look for the line of symmetry on their card stock. Ask them to fold it in half. It doesn’t have to be exact, but it should be close, so ask adults to help as necessary. Explain that things that fold in half exactly are symmetrical. Tell them to paint on just one side of their folded line. They can paint any shape they’d like, but after each color, have them fold the paper in half on the line again. After the first print, they will begin to understand that the mirror image of the paint will appear on the other side of the line. They can continue painting until their design is complete.

Question:

What is symmetry?

Can you find a line of symmetry?

Explanation:

Children can apply their understanding of color mixing, learned the past 2 weeks, to this paint and print activity. Allowing them to see their painting after each piece of color added gives them insight into the process of symmetrical prints, and to printmaking in general. Symmetry is an easy-to-demonstrate concept, but sometimes hard to grasp. By allowing them to see symmetry in things they create as well as things in the world around them, children will have a firmer understanding of this basic geometric concept.

Try it!

Have children hold their hands in front of them, thumb to thumb. Ask them if the shape made by their hands is symmetrical. Show them that when they fold their hands together (palms pressing together), their hands line up perfectly – they are symmetrical, and the line of symmetry was the line between their thumbs. Are there other body parts that are symmetrical? Face? Feet? Ears?

 

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