Sunday, 25 September 2011

Living Maths Curriculum - Symmetry

We kicked off with symmetry as a starter to our 'Living Maths' curriculum. I have chosen to follow this because it includes both of the girls at the same time and can easily be adapted to different depths of understanding. It also really suits Eve's preferred learning style and makes our days fun and interactive. The final bonus is that we can carry on easily even when Idris needs to sit down and feed or cuddle as we can do it gathered around the sofa with lap trays!!

We started with the book 'Let's Fly a Kite' by Stuart J. Murphy. I read the book to the girls and we talked about the pictures. They giggled at the story and identified with the siblings that bicker occasionally! We read the book everyday and did corresponding activities to build their understanding of symmetry. Above is one of the leaf collages that were made after a walk in the park examining which leaves were symmetrical and which weren't.

Above I had the girls group the alphabet bean bags according to whether they had a line of symmetry or not. They found this a little tricky as a fair amount of visualisation was required. After that the girls drew the lines on their own sheet of letters - I introduced the idea of multiple lines of symmetry as we did this.

Here the girls enjoyed making symmetrical designs on butterflies. I did a quick demonstration about how to make the designs symmetrical before they started. Not all of the designs were entirely successful but they provided a good starter for discussing how they were or weren't symmetrical. I think that it deepened their understanding of the concept and definitely re-enforced the vocabulary!
 This was our first activity of the week - we used the Montessori insets for design and traced then cut them out before folding them along a line of symmetry. The girls found this easy to do. An extension to this would be exploring the multiple lines of symmetry that exist in the shapes. I plan to cycle back round to symmetry when we have covered the other topics and increase the level of difficulty next time round!

I built my Living Maths book list using Mama Jenn's living math book list as a spring board. Once I started searching, Amazon threw up many more options for me to choose from and I was able to select books that are really lovely picture books in addition to being useful maths starters (Get it? In addition to? he he!!). I am choosing a mixture of outdoor or physical activities, games, mental arithmetic and worksheet or art based activities to re-enforce the concept without being samey and boring!

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