Finding the Symmetry of Trees

Drawing isn’t just a fun and inexpensive way to pass time, it’s a great creative outlet that has also been shown to improve learning and memory (read more about that cool science in this article from Edutopia). To help learners process information in different ways, we have created diverse activities and lessons, including this free, printable Tree Symmetry Journal! Whether worked on at home, a nearby park, or as an activity at your favorite public garden, this journal prompts observation, teaches vocabulary, and is filled with fun tree facts.  

Before you head out, we’ve rounded up some more information and resources to make learning about symmetry in nature an easy, repeatable adventure.  

What is Symmetry?  

Bilateral symmetry (also called “reflection” or “mirror” symmetry) means an object matches exactly on both sides when split down the middle in one direction. This is the kind of symmetry we focus on in the Tree Symmetry Journal.   

Radial symmetry (a type of rotational symmetry) means an object is symmetrical all-around a fixed point in the center. See examples of both these kinds of symmetry in the video linked below.  

More Symmetry Activities!

Following up on the Tree Symmetry Journal and keeping the learning going is as easy as going for a walk and observing objects, organic or man-made. You can even walk around your home or school and discuss symmetry! It’s all around us.  

If you’re on the go, take pictures of things and study them at home, or print out the photos so you can draw on them and experiment. If you have examples of reflective symmetry, you could make your own version of our Tree Symmetry Journal! Here’s how: 

  1. Print the photo of an object with reflective symmetry. 
  1. Cut the photo in half, right down the center of the symmetrical object. 
  1. Glue, tape or staple one half of the photo to a piece of blank paper. 
  1. “Complete” the object by drawing the other half on the blank paper. This is great practice for drawing with precision and paying attention to detail.  

Find other cool symmetry activity ideas on this blog post from Buggy and Buddy.

Video Break

For a primer on lines of symmetry and another outdoor nature activity to explore symmetry, check out this 3-minute educational video

Our free printable Tree Symmetry Journal prompts observation, teaches vocabulary, and is filled with fun tree facts. Whether worked on at home, a nearby park, or as an activity at your favorite public garden, this journal is a fun outdoor, artistic adventure.

Written by: Angel Horne

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