Symmetry is a property of geometry in which both sides of a shape are exact reflections of each other. The line of symmetry is the dividing line separating the two opposite sides. One way to practice recognizing symmetrical shapes is to fold a piece of paper in half, and use scissors to cut a shape on the fold. When you open the paper, what you see is a symmetrical shape, with the fold being the line of symmetry! Here's a fun way to explore symmetry that goes beyond paper and scissors. This activity makes symmetry not only fun, but sweet!
What You Do:
- Gently fold a tortilla in half. Do not crease, as this can tear the tortilla.
- Have your child use a pair of clean kitchen shears to cut shapes on the fold. Challenge her to create certain shapes, such as hearts. Remind her that she will only need to cut half of the symmetrical shape to create it on folded material because she is cutting on the line of symmetry.
- Gently open the tortilla to check the symmetrical shape. If necessary, refold the tortilla to add more cuts and snips as desired.
- Now it's time to turn symmetry practice into a sweet treat. Spray both sides of the tortilla with cooking spray, and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees in a preheated oven for a few minutes until light golden brown. (Note: Cook longer for a crispy tortilla; shorten cooking time for a softer tortilla.)
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with powdered sugar. Now enjoy eating your sweet symmetry treat!
Note: For some varied holiday fun try making Symmetrical Valentine Tortillas, a Shamrock Tortilla for St. Patrick's Day, a Star Tortilla on Independence Day, and a Snowflake or Christmas Tree Tortilla in December.
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading.