Symmetry and the iPad
Exploring symmetry is a popular classroom activity. There are plenty of hands-on and creative ways of doing this without any technology. If you want to use technology, the iPad can contribute to the process. The free Photo Booth app has a great mirror effect. The line of symmetry can be rotated from horizontal to vertical. There are some dedicated apps and Symmetry Exercises for Kids is a great example.
The app involves completing the mirror image of a drawing across a grid. There is a helper/checker button that highlights the incorrect lines as you progress. Children find this really quite therapeutic and fun. The free version has a range of levels and has enough to keep classes really busy. The levels give the process a game-like feel and this tends to help with resilience. There are no Save options but it easy to screenshot the outcomes and add them to a Book Creator book and then a simple hand into Showbie!
The free Symmetry Drawing app is also really popular with children.
The line of symmetry can be set to one vertical, one horizontal and, just to confuse everyone, both vertical and horizontal lines! The drawings tend to have a pleasing coloured pencil feel to them. There is plenty of scope for changing line width and colour and multiple Undo’s for those creative moments that don’t quite work.
One really exciting tool that we have been using in conjunction with Art apps, has been Boinx’s PartySnapper.
The creators Boinx are well known on the Mac for animation software such as iStopMotion (also available on the iPad). PartySnapper, is really designed for parties at home! The idea being the host hooks up an iPad to a large flat screen, they run the PartySnapper app and guests take pictures and using the free app can post directly to the host. It works like magic! All the images that are posted are added to a big looping, scrolling wall of pictures.
In the classroom this creates a fabulous visual back channel of work as it is evolving. The children can look up and become inspired and encouraged by seeing the whole class’s activity.
It is quite a painful process, connecting and disconnecting iPads over Airplay 30 times for a whole class. We all lose so much time and have so much disruption. This works seamlessly with host iPad saving time and disruption.
The ‘icing on the cake’ for busy teachers is that each image that is displayed is also copied and stored automatically in an album in the host iPad’s photos app. The name of the album is named after the party title created in PartySnapper. You can try this in class for free. The free version only allows 10 images to be sent for testing purposes. If you want a quick way to gather evidence in the form of screenshots, this is a smart way to work.