Symmetry with Pattern Blocks

Symmetry Fun

Symmetry with Pattern Blocks

We had lots of fun learning about symmetry this week! Besides the lesson in our math book, we did all sorts of great activities to practice creating symmetry. We have our standardized tests next week, so we enjoyed doing some fun activities to unwind and relax before our long week.

Symmetry with Pattern Blocks

First, we did a symmetry gallery walk activity. Each group got rulers and either pattern blocks or base ten blocks. They had to create half of a design on one side of the ruler. Then they had to collect the pieces someone would need to make the other half be symmetrical. This step is VERY important. Students that didn’t pay attention to that step created problems for the students that later tried to do the second half. After the students were done, they had a chance to walk around and choose another design to finish. Once they finished the design, they got to mix up the pieces and create a new design for someone else to finish. They loved creating designs and walking around to see everyone else’s designs!

Symmetry with Base Ten Blocks

Our next activity was probably my favorite! I took pictures of each student in front of the whiteboard. Then I went into PowerPoint and cropped each picture so it was cut in half – right down the middle of the nose. I printed them out (I used color, but you could also do it black and white) and surprised each student with their “half of a face”. I used an example to show them how they could use a ruler to measure to best match the other side of their face. Some however chose to just “eyeball” it. Then they mounted their picture on construction paper to post in the hallway! Some turned out amazing, others struggled, but they will make great memories for their family!

Symmetrical Photos Classroom Activity

Lastly, I wanted to do something for Valentine’s Day that incorporated symmetry into a Valentine’s gift they could give to family members. I found this great post on Pinterest – Create Art with Me: Valentine’s Day Projects. I decided to use the bookmark idea to create Valentine’s Day bookmarks using symmetry.

Symmetry Bookmarks

Go to the blog post for all of the directions. I let my students create any design they wanted. Some obviously turned out better than others, as with any craft, but overall it was definitely a success.  Instead of using packing tape, I just laminated them. If you don’t have a personal laminator for your classroom, I highly recommend it! So what symmetry activities are you doing in your classroom?

Symmetry Bookmarks

Card Tower STEM Challenge

Card Tower STEM Challenge & a Freebie

This past Friday we held a Card Tower STEM challenge for the whole third grade. We handed out cooperative grouping cards in order to assign each student to a group of 3. Then each group got a deck of 52 cards (we removed all jokers and extra cards so each deck was equal). We explained the rules: everyone must participate, treat everyone and their ideas with respect, and stay in one spot. We told them they would have 15 minutes to build a tower together and there would be awards for the tallest, widest, and most creative towers. Then they set off to work.

They all had different strategies and it was fun to see their problem solving skills in action! The ones going for most creative had some great ideas! We had one group create a tower that resembled a person, another was a multi-room house, and our winner was a sunburst design.

Card Tower STEM Challenge

At the end, we measured the tallest and widest towers with a yard stick. Then the three third grade teachers walked around and voted on the most creative tower. Then we gathered the students together for the “award ceremony”. We announced the awards for the tallest, widest, and most creative card towers. Then we allowed the students to carefully walk around to look at the other students’ towers. They had a great time and the whole activity took around 30 minutes with very minimal prep! Want to hold your own card tower contest? Click on the certificates below to download an editable card tower certificate!

Editable Card Tower Certificate