Using a Mirror to Learn About Symmetry In Nature
Nature, with it’s beautiful orderly patterns, is a great place to learn about symmetry. There are two main kinds of symmetry: reflective symmetry and rotational symmetry.
Reflective symmetry means that one half of the object is a mirror image of the other half. Leaves and butterflies are a good example of reflective symmetry.
Rotational symmetry means that you can turn the object around a center point. You can draw more than one line of symmetry through the object. Most flowers are a good example of rotational symmetry.
Learning About Symmetry using Nature
For this activity, you will need a small mirror. I found an inexpensive unbreakable mirror on Amazon, but you might be able to find one cheaper in a dollar store.
First, explain symmetry to your child. You can use your own words, or read a book about symmetry. I’ve listed some books below to help you out. Then grab your mirror and head outside. Show your child how if an object is symmetrical, a mirror placed in the middle will complete the object.
We enjoyed looking around for objects to replicate using the mirror.
When doing this activity with my daughter, I wasn’t sure the concept of symmetry would stick, but she loves pointing out things that are symmetrical now.
Books about Symmetry in Nature
Here are some books that teach about symmetry using nature that you can read with your child. The author of Seeing Symmetry (pictured below) has a fun activity pack you can download for free on Teachers Pay Teachers.
Other Symmetry Activities
- Draw the Missing Half: Leaf Art Study
- Monarch Butterfly Symmetry
- Look for symmetrical letters and words. MOM is one such word. Write an “M” and half of an “O” and use the mirror to finish the word.
For a new nature activity every day check out my “Month in Nature” calendars.
Check out my Ten Days of Learning with Nature series for more nature activities.