Mathematical Images: Symmetry

I love finding ‘maths pictures’, and thought it would be nice to start collecting and sharing them. Symmetry is the easiest to begin with, unsurprisingly. Images with simple line symmetry can be great for young (i.e. Y7) pupils to engage with, allowing for discussions about strategies to ‘test’ to how symmetrical an image is and how it could be improved to be ‘more’ symmetrical (this is a good ‘way in’ to using squared paper to complete reflections).

Rotational symmetry is fun to explore with an interactive whiteboard, and more practical activities abound (e.g. for homework pupils can draw their own Rangoli patterns, or make patterned wedges that can be repeated to build up a whole shape). Some of my most able Y7 pupils wrote excellent pieces discussing symmetry in buildings and gave their opinions on how symmetry affected the attractiveness of a building or shop display. A colleague in my department set up a lesson for his students to break up into small groups, each with a digital camera, and had to choose the ten best symmetrical images they could find around the school. If my memory serves me correctly, images were deemed to be ‘better’ if they were unusual or had more than one line of symmetry.

Some examples of line symmetry:

Some examples of rotational symmetry: