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Mirror/Flip Images - Geometry in the Real World:
grade 3-6

Overview: Elementary students learn about flips, mirror or reverse images in geometry because that knowledge is helpful when constructing projects, sewing clothes, building models, doing jigsaw puzzles or tracing and copying artwork.
Resources: Teacher: copier paper; magazine headlines; mirror; chalk. Student: pencil; paper.
Teacher Preparation: Do the foldover suggestion below with your own name.
Procedure Ideas:

  • Using a bold newspaper headline, preferably one with block style lettering, use a mirror to show mirror image.
  • Do a foldover exercise: fold a sheet of paper lengthwise, open back up, students write first name in cursive heavily with pencil filling half the sheet, fold over again and rub the paper heavily to transfer the pencil image to other half of sheet, then use crayons or markers to color in the resulting design.
  • Draw their name in flip form on a sheet of paper, draw over the name heavily with chalk, then hold the paper face down on the blackboard and rub the sheet with their hand to transfer their name to the board.
  • See flips by holding sheets of paper on a window to see in reverse through the paper.
  • Playing the computer game Tetris (or one of its endless variations) is an excellent way to visualize flips and turns.

Variations/Options: Teachers can even use this technique when making bulletin board letters: draw the letters in reverse on construction paper, cut out, and attach to your bulletin board pencil side down to eliminate the step of having to erase all your pencil lines.