Symmetry in Mathematics, a learning scenario created by Ivo Žikić, is an interesting session dealing with symmetry and involving practical critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This will encourage the students to think outside the box. Due to Covid-19, I am not able to implement this learning scenario in class with my students. However, I am still giving my input on how it could have been implemented, including a few modifications I made to the learning scenario.
This learning scenario is an introduction to symmetry for students in the 8th grade. I made a few amendments to this scenario since, in our curriculum, the introduction to symmetry is usually covered between the 2nd and 3rd grade. Hence, I have simplified a few activities for younger pupils.
As an introduction for the brainstorming activity, instead of using Mentimeter, I will present to the students a few tangible symmetrical shapes/real objects and invite them to look closely and say whether the objects have anything in common. Using a set of questions, I will lead them to the understanding of the meaning of ‘symmetry’.
Following this, I will present the definition of the word ‘symmetry’ and together we will discuss its meaning again, by analyzing a few more shapes/real objects. I will also present the YouTube video ‘Lines of Symmetry’ mentioned in the learning scenario to portray the function of a line of symmetry.
Two main group activities – ‘Sorting’ and ‘Europeana’ – will be held.
- Two hula hoops will be placed on the floor, one having the flashcard ‘symmetry’ and the other one having the flashcards ‘non-symmetry’ in the centre.
- Various items, shapes and objects will be provided to the students.
- They will have to select an item and place it in the correct hula hoop, as well as, identify where the line of symmetry should be.
- When finished, in pairs, they are encouraged to draw any shapes that they want and the rest of the group will analyse the shape and place it in the correct hoop.
- The same procedure mentioned in the learning scenario under the section “Symmetry on Europeana” will be followed.
- The pictures found by the students will be placed on Padlet that I would have prepared beforehand.
Once both activities are completed, the students will go through the pictures on Padlet. Following this, the ‘review’ part of the learning scenario will be held, showing the videos along with the teacher’s information and whole class completing a quiz.
I believe that the students would really like this learning scenario since it involves a lot of hands-on activities and gives them space to evaluate objects in a critical way. Moreover, it gives them an opportunity to own their learning and not just listen to the teacher.
Teaching outcome and final thoughts
Symmetry is usually a fascinating topic for students especially if presented in a fun and interesting way and in line with the students’ age and level of knowledge. It also enhances their observation skills and gives them space to be creative.
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Symmetry in Mathematics by Ivo Žikić
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