Sunday, April 14, 2013

Working with Symmetry

My 4th graders just finished working with symmetry.  Whew!  Talk about cutting it close.  We begin our state standardized assessment, the CRCT, Monday.  We just finished up our last unit on Friday!  There are just way too many standards to teach with the new Math Common Core Performance Standards in 4th grade.  My kids have worked so hard and most of them have given 120% each day!  Still, I am a nervous wreck not knowing what awaits us on this first year of testing Common Core. 
 It's hard on kids when they don't get to make the coffee filter Shamrocks on St. Partrick's Day, or take a break every so often and do something they don't have to rush through in order to move on to something else.
There are so many cool things you can do with symmetry but, I had very little time to teach it.  However, I was not going to let my kids go without having a little fun while learning symmetry.  
This is where the Ellison machine became very helpful. The only manipulatives I needed last week were construction paper die cuts.  Now, I must admit, I have a student teacher right now so, I didn't have to actually cut the shapes myself.  Yes, I know everyone is probably pretty dog-gone jealous right now!  :)  My student teacher cut all kinds of shapes from the die cuts.  Some shapes had lines of symmetry, others had none.  
The shapes were placed on the tables in-between the kids.  Each child received a piece of white copy paper and folded it, with teacher modeling, into 8 sections.  Once all the preliminaries were completed, the students began folding shapes and finding how many lines of symmetry were in each of the figures.  
The next step was to draw the shape on one of the 8 sections of the white paper.  This drawing was free-handed since the die cut was so much larger than the section on the paper.  After drawing the shape, the number of lines of symmetry was also written in that section.  
After completing the activity, the kids were allowed to color a butterfly.  Of course, both sides of the butterfly had to be decorated symmetrically.  I believe my kids had a good time, and most importantly, I believe they learned a lot about symmetry.