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Insect Symmetry

Explore symmetry in nature. Investigate the insect world, then create colorful butterflies, dragonflies, damselflies, and other symmetrical creatures.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Students use library and electronic resources to investigate the insect world. Pay special attention to designs on wings. Identify the body parts of insects (head, thorax, abdomen, legs, wings, antennae). Compare and contrast insect groups (such as butterflies, beetles, dragonflies, and ants).
    2. Invite students to design their own symmetrical insects. Fold paper in half. Use a black Crayola® Washable Marker to draw half of the insect. Be sure the center of the insect body meets the fold. Add detailed wing and body designs in your outline.
    3. Turn over the folded paper. Students trace the image seen through the paper. Inform them that they may need to hold the folded paper against a sunny window or a light table so the image on the other half is easy to see.
    4. Open the paper. Students add color to the outlined design with Crayola Crayons. As each area is colored, fill in the same area in the same color on the other half to make the insect symmetrical. Color all areas with crayon, including the background. Rub entire drawing with a paper towel to give it a glossy sheen.
    5. Allow time for students to present their symmetrical insects to small groups of classmates. Ask students to share the most interesting facts learned during research.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

    LA: Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting or plot.

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

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    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.

    MATH: Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line not matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry.

    MATH: Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane , and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation.

    SCI: Use diagrams and physical models to support the explanation of how the external parts of animals and plants help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.

    SCI: Record observations and communicate about the ways young plants and animals change as they grow.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Let's Fly a Kite by Stuart J. Murphy; Symmetry in Nature by Allyson Valentine Schrier; Seeing Symmetry by Loren Leedy; What Is Symmetry in Nature? by Bobbie Kalman

    Students use original drawings and label all significant parts of their chosen insect. A brief description of the role each part plays can also be included.

    Students can cut out original drawings and hang string from the tips of each wing. Display these in the classroom.

    Collaborating with a classmate, students compose a poem that is focused on their chosen symmetrical insect and its characteristics. Post the original poems with student artwork.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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