• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

• supporting creativity in the classroom and beyond •

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Frank Asch has a wonderful poem called Sunflakes that's the inspiration for this second grade activity that incorporates radial symmetry. I introduce the art activity by showing photographs of snowflakes from the book The Art of the Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht, giving students time to look carefully at the shapes and negative space, and pointing out how the shapes repeat on each ray of the snowflake. This introduces the concept of radial symmetry. We then do a shared read-aloud of the charted poem, and talk about what a sunflake might look like.

To make the sunflakes, students first cut three skinny lines from a 9x12 sheet of construction paper which are overlapped and glued onto white paper, arranged to create six equally-spaced radial lines.... not as easy as it sounds! They then cut and glue a variety of shapes onto and between the lines to build up a "sunflake" shape. Emphasis is on radial symmetry and color. Only red, yellow, and orange construction paper is used for the sunflakes, so a lesson in warm colors can also be thrown in. These sunflakes reinforce cutting skills and geometric shapes. Another possibility is to have them paint sunflakes, which could incorporate color mixing.

The discussion at the end of the lesson focuses on a review of the concept of radial symmetry. A wall display includes the poem and an assortment of sunflakes.