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Reflection Symmetry: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Rayna Cummings

Rayna has taught Elementary Education for 12 years (in both 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades) and holds a M.Ed in Early Childhood Education from The Ohio State University

When you look in the mirror what do you see? A reflection of you. In this lesson, you're going to learn about reflection symmetry, what it is, how to identify it, and things around you that have it.

Let's Cut it in Half

Quickly grab a piece of paper, a pencil, and a pair of scissors. Fold the paper in half, draw a straight line down the fold, and then cut the folded line. What are you looking at? You just cut your piece of paper into two equal parts, right? Both parts should look exactly the same size and shape, and if you put the pieces back together you would get your original piece of paper. This is called reflection symmetry, also known as mirror symmetry. Reflection symmetry is when one half of an object or shape is the reflection of the other half. The two halves are a reflection of each other and the line where you cut is called the line of symmetry, creating the two equal parts.

Example of Reflection Symmetry with a Butterfly
Butterfly

Let's Use the Alphabet

Let's try some more examples of reflection symmetry. Grab some more paper. This time draw a big capital A. Make it as big as your paper. Now draw a straight line down the middle of the A. This line is known as a y-axis line. This will be your line of symmetry. Now use your scissors and cut the line you just drew. You should have two sides of the A that look exactly the same. You have made reflection symmetry with the letter A! Now let's try another letter. Draw a big capital C . Draw a line through it like you did with the letter A. If you drew your line up and down, you'll see this doesn't make reflection symmetry, because the two sides of the C aren't the same. Draw your line side to side, which is known as the x-axis line, through the middle of the C. By drawing your line this way, you've now created equal parts and reflection symmetry with the letter C.

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