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Forwards & Backwards: Mirror-Image Geometry

Create a bright "master" design with geometric shapes. Use it to make amazing reverse-symmetrical drawings and mirror images!

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Students create reverse-symmetrical drawings and mirror image art! Have students fold a piece of construction paper in half and open it up. Cover the art area with recycled newspaper. Students fill half of their paper with color using Crayola Slick Stix™ super-smooth crayons. Place colors in either geometric or organic shapes. Cover all of the white space, up to the edges and the crease.
    2. Students refold the paper. Remove the recycled newspaper in order to work on a hard surface to draw half of a picture. Begin and end the outline shape on the fold. Choose a simple shape, such as a butterfly or half an apple.
    3. Press hard with Crayola Colored Pencils to outline the shape. Begin at the folded edge and end on the fold. Make the lines thick. Add lots of details inside the outline.
    4. Open up the paper. Inside you’ll find a complete image! Half of the background is colored and half is white! This kind of drawing, which has two halves exactly the same (but reversed), is called symmetrical.
    5. Glue the drawing on a large piece of construction paper to be your frame.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes, such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces. Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes.

    MATH: Partition circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, thirds, half of, third of, etc. and describe the whole as two halves, three thirds, four fourths. Recognize that equal shares of identical wholes need not have the same shape.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns; Three Pigs, One Wolf, Seven Magic Shapes by Grace Maccarone; Mummy Math: An Adventure in Geometry by Cindy Neuschwander; Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban

    Prior to this art lesson, students investigate their home and/or school environment to find and identify geometric shapes that are present in everyday items they encounter. Students can take digital photographs of these items and write on the photos what geometric shapes are present. As a whole class, students share these pictures and discuss the common shapes that they are surrounded by everyday.

    Students explore fraction concepts of half and whole with this art technique. Ask students to identify and write words that help to describe this technique.


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