As we prepared to explore symmetry through a painting project, the group gathered around somewhat reluctantly. I assured them that they were free to choose not to paint after they had seen the demonstration. Several were very familiar with the term symmetry: "It's when it's the same on both sides," explained Snowflake and demonstrated by drawing mountains across a paper.
I added a few dabs of paint to my paper. "Put yellow on the red!" suggested Elm. Then I folded it in half, pressed, and opened. There was a collective "Ooh!" as I opened the paper. "Look at those lines. It looks like a brain!" pointed Agouti. I gave a couple more basic instructions. "Can we start the symmetry painting now?" asked Icicle, reluctance transformed into impatience.
All six Eagles got to work, eagerly showing off each stage of their creation. Icicle studied his paper, carefully assessing where to add the next bit of paint. "It's going to be perfect!" he declared. After completing two paintings, he determined that his second one was better than the first.
Some students chose to paint a specific image. "I'm painting a tree!" decided Ant, and after finishing the tree went on to complete several other paintings. Snowflake added to her initial mountain drawing. "Do you see the clouds?" she asked. "And here are the mountaintops, and this is the wind."
Moon added many layers to her painting, showing me each stage. Objects like the sun and a girl blended into other shapes and colors. Elm covered every square inch of her paper, painting and folding several times. "Look at it now! These lines look like leaves," she said, pointing to the textures made in the paint.
Agouti worked carefully with some of his favorite colors, commenting that our brains look like walnuts, a red or white walnut, he thought. We noticed many different textures in the paint after he opened his paper. "This half is going to be for my mom and this half is for my mom's mom," he told me.
Teacher Alyson ("She's not a teacher, she's a director," corrected Moon) helped us hang our paintings to dry on the trees along the path, making a beautiful temporary art gallery.
Happy Mother's Day! May it be filled with beauty and love, and nourishment in the deep work of parenting.