Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First Grade Symmetrical Butterflies

I was thinking about how to tie different kinds of lines and shapes together for a fun 1st grade project. I decided to use butterflies to tie in math not only with geometric shapes but with symmetry. I found a cool animation on a website that showed a butterflies wings being folded to match up and then opening to show symmetry. First the students folded their paper in half and then drew only the outline of half a butterfly on one side. Introducing the project and just the first step took a whole class period. Several students could not grasp only drawing half of the butterfly even though I had demonstrated, explained, and gave several reminders. I kept making them erase it until they had followed directions correctly. I think it was too tempting to have that much blank space on their papers! I reviewed the assignment and passed out oil pastels at the beginning of the next class period. I showed how to trace the outline with oil pastels, fold so it was on the inside of the paper sandwich, and burnish to transfer the lines to the other side for a perfectly symmetrical butterfly. Of course we had to trace back over the transfered line to make it dark enough but it was a lot closer to symmetrical than if both sides were drawn free hand. Next the students used crayons to draw lines and shapes on both sides of the wings. I encouraged them to do one line or shape at a time: draw a circle on the right wing, draw a circle in the same color on the opposite side so it would match if folded. After the lines and shapes were drawn, the students filled in the space with color and added a background.

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