1. Education

Lesson Plan: Symmetry & Positional Language


Students will cut symmetrical shapes out of paper, and will then use them to describe the relative positions of objects.

Class: Kindergarten

Duration: One class period, about 45 minutes


  • scissors
  • construction paper
  • templates (optional) of ½ butterflies, hearts, circles, squares, triangles, and any other shapes you’d like students to experiment with
  • gluestick
  • crayons (optional)

Key Vocabulary: half, whole, symmetry, line, above, below, next to, in front of, behind

Objectives: Students will cut and place objects with one line of symmetry, and will use positional language to describe their location.

Standards Met: K.G.1. Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.

Lesson Introduction: Write the following terms on the board and go over their definitions with students: Above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to. Ask students to tell you the locations of items in the classroom using those terms. Where is the clock? Where is my desk? Where is the blackboard? If time allows, have them ask these kinds of questions to their classmates, and have their peers answer using the given terms.

Step-by Step Procedure:

  1. Model the tracing and cutting of shapes. On the board, show students how to fold a piece of construction paper, place a template along the fold, and trace around it. Then they should cut along the lines. Do this several times so that you have many examples to share with the class, and continue this until you feel that most students are comfortable with the process.
  2. Give students 15-20 minutes to do this with various templates while you walk around the room and help students who are struggling. Some may be having trouble with scissors, others with the templates and their folded paper. Adjust the timing of the lesson as needed, and have students who are finishing quickly help others.
  3. When you see that all students have at least 4-5 shapes, take a few minutes for clean up, and then bring their attention back to you at the board.
  4. Have students describe for you where to put your shapes, while you record on the board what they tell you using the vocabulary. For example, “Put the butterfly above the clock.” Tape the butterfly above the clock and write on the board exactly what they've told you to do. “Put the heart next to Javarion’s desk.” And so on, until you have used most if not all of the shapes you cut out.
  5. Put away your model, and walk students through the directions they created in #4. Tell them that they are now going to create their own design with their shapes. They should glue them to a sheet of white paper in whatever arrangement they want. Tell them that you'll be pulling them in small groups so that they can tell you about their pictures.
  6. Have students create their own design with their shapes. For about 10 minutes, walk around helping students. You can also use that time to reinforce the positional language. "Oh, I see you put the butterfly next to the heart!" Some students may finish the gluing early, in which case they can help others or color a picture to go with their shape arrangement.
  7. One by one or two by two, pull students aside and have them dictate to you where their shapes are located on the page. “The butterfly is above the triangle.” “The square is next to the circle.” Record this information on their page.

Homework/Assessment: Send a baggie of shapes home with your students, and have them practice steps 6 and 7 at home, with a parent or older sibling recording the positional information as the student dictates.

Evaluation: Take anecdotal notes as you meet with individuals or small groups of students.

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