Unit of Instruction - Symmetry

Teaching First Graders How to Identify Symmetrical Objects!

Target Students & Classroom Description

  1. Sam - EBD - Reactive Attachment Disorder
  2. Danny - CD (Down Syndrome)
  3. Megan - Autism
  4. Harper - Autism

1st grade general education classroom with 18 total students, 4 with disabilities.

Summary of Unit

Wisconsin Common Core State Standard

Geometry 1.G – Reason with shapes and their attributes

1. Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.


  1. Symmetry Painting - Students will design a symmetrical spider using paint and folded paper, and will begin to define the concept of symmetry.

  2. Smart Board Symmetry - Students will correctly identify symmetrical shapes when presented with both symmetrical and asymmetrical shapes.

  3. Symmetrical Butterflies - Students will create a symmetrical butterfly by accurately coloring a butterfly outline.

  4. Symmetrical Letter Hunt - Students will classify the letters of the alphabet as being either symmetrical or not symmetrical by determining the lines of symmetry (vertical or horizontal).

  5. SymmeTREE - Students will sort objects from nature that are symmetrical (with vertical or horizontal line of symmetry) and those that are not symmetrical.

Final Formal Lesson - SymmeTREE


Learning Objectives: Students will sort objects from nature that are symmetrical (with vertical or horizontal line of symmetry) and those that are not symmetrical.

Summative Assessment: Students determination of whether or not their object is symmetrical will act as a summative assessment. Also, students will complete a 3-part worksheet at the end to show evidence of their learning over the entire unit.

Engagement Strategy: Watch “Symmetrical Spectacles” video on Youtube from 4:19-5:04.



Teacher will remind the students that we can find things in nature that are symmetrical.

Call on a few students to give the definition of symmetrical.

Assign carpet partners and have students talk with a partner for about 30 seconds to 1 minute about examples of symmetrical objects they might have seen in nature. Call on a few students who are sitting quietly to share one of their ideas.


Co-teachers will take turns picking objects from the nature bag and will have a conversation with the students about whether the object is symmetrical.

Symmetrical objects will go on the SymmeTREE and asymmetrical objects will go in separate pile.

Teacher will then model the worksheet for the students.

Formative Assessment: Carpet partner talk and guided practice portion.

Guided Practice: Pass out a cut-out of objects from nature to each student. Students will take turns placing symmetrical items on the SymmeTREE. Items that are not symmetrical will be placed in separate pile.


Summative Assessment: Results from SymmeTree, as well as the worksheets students will complete at the conclusion of the activity.

**Harper and Sam will complete independently (Megan does not come to school on Fridays), with the exception of some allowable prompting from co-teachers. Danny will complete an alternative assessment, requiring him to orally identify five letters from the alphabet and five basic shapes (oval, circle, square, rectangle, triangle).**

Closure: Completion of worksheets.

Instructional Strategies Utilized

Co-Teaching was used throughout the unit, and it allowed us to provide the necessary support to the students with special needs. It was also useful to have two teachers floating during activities, in order to ensure student engagement and understanding. When given alternative assessments to Danny, it was essential that two teachers were present.

Technology was also used throughout the unit. In the final lesson specifically, a YouTube symmetry video was shown using the Smart Board. Additionally, the second lesson featured a few different symmetry activities and games. The students LOVED using the Smart Board and maintained focus, interest, and engagement.

Cooperative Learning was used in a few of the symmetry unit lessons. During the symmetrical letter hunt lesson, students worked in small groups to decide whether or not the letters in their sets were symmetrical or not, and if so, whether the line of symmetry was vertical or horizontal. Students also had carpet partner sharing, which allowed them to discuss their ideas with each other.

Results of Instruction for Lesson 5

Whole Group 13 students scored 9/12 or betterTarget StudentsMegan - absent (does not come to school on Fridays)Danny - completed assessment successfully (identification of 5 letters and 5 basic shapes)Sam - scored 4/12Harper - scored 10/12


How did it go? Overall, the lesson went well. The students were excited to see what object they received and enjoyed sharing it and placing it on the SymmeTREE (if symmetrical). The students (both target and regular education) provided evidence of achieving the instuctional objectives. Instructional strategy? Using co-teaching, technology, and cooperative learning instructional strategies were beneficial in the final lesson. Co-teaching enabled the target students to receive the necessary support to be successful in the general education setting. Technology and the use of the Smart Board grabbed student attention and maintained student motivation, enthusiasm, and engagement. Cooperative learning allowed the students to share their objects with each other.What worked? The lesson grabbed student attention and the interactive components kept the students engaged.What didn't work? The small group work during the symmetrical letter hunt lesson turned out to be difficult. The students have not had a lot of experience working in small groups and it seemed as though they did not understand how to share responsibility. What would you do differently next time? In the future, I would make the initial lesson a little more in-depth and slightly more challenging. I would consider making the final lesson multi-step. Maybe the students would each have an individual SymmeTREE with a set of objects, and they would be responsible for placing the symmetrical objects on their own tree. Why did learning occur? Learning occurred because the students had FUN. The lessons were varied and the instructional strategies as well as the activities kept the students interested and engaged.