Monday, February 7, 2011

Let's Talk About Symmetry

Once a week, we play school. We get together with another mom and her kids and we do all sorts of learning. The grown-ups switch off teacher role from week to week, but the kids are steadfastly the students. The teacher picks a theme. Sometimes it's timely like "Columbus Day" in October. Other times it's more organic like "The Five Senses" because I feel like it.

There's only half a Mike on the
page, but Vance uses the
mirror to see a whole kid.
With Valentine's Day--this holiday I never really celebrated until I had kids and realized what a craft goldmine it is--just around the corner, I started a recent theme with hearts. You know, folding a paper in half, cutting along half a heart line and opening the paper up to reveal a perfect heart with a rather conspicuous crevasse down its center. In thinking about where to take this theme, I couldn't stop thinking about symmetry. But then I thought to myself, "Why would you teach a four year-old about symmetry?" But then I thought, "Why wouldn't you?"

Kids are amazing! They will suck up anything you throw at them. So, why not immerse their sponge-like brains in all sorts of things? It's possible symmetry is not an entirely urgent field of study for a pre-schooler, but it does offer a new way of looking at things and a finer means of exploring what they see. Besides, all the cool kids are symmetrical.

After cutting out hearts, the kids used mirrors to make symmetrical pictures. This was best exemplified by the book "Another Magic Mirror Book" that my mother-in-law has held on to from my husband's childhood. I do lament the original "Magic Mirror Book" is not still around. It's kind of disappointing to start such a riveting story with the sequel. But we made do.

We then folded a bunch of things along their lines of symmetry. And at last, I got Fifi to tackle this pattern block activity she had previously shied away from that involves completing a picture by making a mirror image.

Was symmetry the most exciting lesson to date? Absolutely not. Will I try to teach my kids more mathy concepts because they fulfill some bizarre thematic musing of mine? Most likely. Will my kids still love me when they realize no one else's mother makes her kids do nerdy stuff like this? God, I hope so.

No comments:

Post a Comment