Fold a piece of paper in two and tear out half a person.  An old newspaper is good for this. Now open out your little person and flatten it. You have made a paper doll  that is symmetrical about the fold line. The two halves of the doll on each side of the fold line are reflections of each other. We call the fold line a mirror line

Make some more people and other objects in the same way. You might like to experiment with making a line of people holding hands.



Now make 2 folds, tear out a star shape and flatten it out. The picture shows a shape made in this way with 2 axes of symmetry along the fold lines. Create your own pattern with 2 mirror lines.

The next shape was made by making 3 folds in the piece of paper and then cutting some holes along the edges of the fold lines to make a symmetrical pattern with 4 mirror lines along the folds. Create your own pattern with 4 mirror lines.

What do you think happens if you turn this pattern through a right angle? What about turning it through 2 right angles? Or 3 right angles?   See what happens when you turn your pattern round. We say this pattern has 4-fold rotational symmetry.

The basket that this lady is making has 8-fold rotational symmetry. Can you explain how we know that? You cannot fold this basket but can you find the mirror lines?

Can you find some flowers or other objects which have rotational symmetry.

Perhaps you would like to make a poster about symmetry or a display for your classroom.

Click here to download the PAPER DOLLS worksheet.

Click here to download the PAPER DOLLS Guide for Parents.

See the Notes for Teachers.



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