Line Symmetry with Pattern Blocks

We recently began a unit study on line symmetry.  One of the first things that I decided that the children should do in their unit was to actually play with the idea of line symmetry in a way that they could manipulate and enjoy.  The good news was that all I needed to do this was to pull out my yard stick and a bunch of pattern blocks I’d bought and about forgotten that I owned.

When I told the children that we were going to be studying “line symmetry,” I got the requisite groans.  After all, it doesn’t sound very interesting when you put it like that.  However, the instant I laid a yard stick out in the floor and began explaining to them that each block they added to one side had to be added to the other, then I had four enthusiastic little kids working out a schedule for taking turns building creations.

Creating a symmetrical pattern

The big kids very quickly started planning out a monkey that they wanted everyone to make with the blocks.  They spent each person’s turn plotting out what it would take to make the monkey in the design that they wanted.  I was pretty thrilled because I really thought that they’d just make a simple pattern on each side of the yardstick.

Line Symmetry with Pattern Blocks

After making one or two designs, the older children were ready to move on to a different activity.  However the younger two stayed and played for quite some time.

Continuing to play

I was really tickled with the things that Monkey created because he started making his own superheroes with the blocks.  The first one he made was Spiderman.  (Only his webs break the symmetrical pattern.)

Spiderman in Symmetrical Blocks

The second character he made was Venom.  He doesn’t look quite as good as Spiderman.  I’m pretty sure it’s mostly because we didn’t have any black pattern blocks for him to use!

Venom in pattern blocks

That’s about it for this lesson.  It was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon!

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