FEARFUL SYMMETRY STEM NOVA AWARD AT-HOME MISSION
Thanks for registering for the STEM Family Adventure Camp! By attending the upcoming camp, your Scout will complete requirements towards the Fearful Symmetry Nova Award.
In order to fully earn the Nova Award, your Scout must learn more about symmetry, patterns, and mirrors. Scroll down to get started on this requirement!
WHAT DOES SYMMETRY MEAN?
Take a look in the mirror. Does one side of your face look the same as the other side? There may be slight differences, but your face is symmetrical. In this lesson, you are going to learn about lines of symmetry.
Do you recognize the breathtaking masterpiece in the picture to
The Taj Mahal is an amazing mausoleum (a type of tomb) built in love and
honor of an Empress named, Mumtaz Mahal. A lot of attention was paid to
every detail in creating one of the top wonders of the world.
If you drew a line down the middle of the picture, you would notice that each side of the Taj Mahal looks exactly the same. This means the building has symmetry. Symmetry is when an object looks the exact same on one side as the other.
To see if an object is symmetrical, you draw a line of symmetry or a line dividing an object to show a perfect match on each side. It's like making a mirror image. Always treat the line as if you would fold the object over on that line, then each side will be the exact same. Lines of symmetry are drawn through the center or midpoint of an object.
TRY YOUR OWN!
Try making your own line of symmetry:
Take a piece of notebook paper, printer paper, or construction paper.
Hold it so that it is vertical (the paper should look longer than it is wide).
Fold the paper perfectly in half, creating what people sometimes call a 'hot dog' fold!
Make sure all of the edges line up.
Open your paper up and see if the two sides look exactly the same along the fold!
Do you think the paper could be folded another way to create a second line of symmetry?
Great job if you realize, you could fold the paper horizontally as well! (Sometimes people call this the 'hamburger' fold!)
MANY LINES OF SYMMETRY
Objects all around you can have lines of symmetry. Some objects have one line of symmetry. Other objects have many lines of symmetry. Then, you can also have objects with no lines of symmetry!
A lot of basic shapes in geometry and buildings in the world are constructed with symmetry. Buildings might have elements of symmetry to make them stronger or to add effect to appearance. Take a look at some shapes in the image to see how lines of symmetry can be drawn.
WHAT ABOUT MIRRORS?
A mirror is a smooth surface that shows images of the objects near it. Most mirrors are a
sheet of glass with a shiny metallic coating on the back.
The appearance of an image in a mirror is called a reflection. Reflection happens when
light hits a surface. If the light cannot pass through the surface, it bounces off, or reflects.
Most surfaces absorb some light and reflect some light. Mirrors, however, reflect almost all the light that hits them. The metallic coating on the back causes the reflection.
When you stand in front of a mirror, your body reflects patterns of light to the mirror. Those patterns of light bounce off the mirror and go back to your eyes. Your brain then interprets, or reads, the patterns of light as an image of yourself in the mirror.
HOW ARE MIRRORS MADE?
Mirrors are made in factories with special machinery. First, a sheet of glass is polished smooth and cleaned. Next, the back of the glass is covered with a thin layer of silver, aluminum, or another metal. Then the metal is covered with copper, varnish, or paint to protect it from scratches.
FINDING SYMMETRY WITH A MIRROR
If we place a mirror on the line of symmetry we can see the complete image. So, we find that the mirror image or reflection of the image in the mirror and the given figure are exactly symmetrical.
The mirror line is the line of symmetry between the two figures. The mirror image of an object is the same but it appears in the opposite direction.
ALL ABOUT PATTERNS
A pattern can appear as a visible design, such as a spiral or set of stripes. Patterns can also appear as repeated events, such as in the weather or in the behaviors of living things.
Many patterns are visible in nature. One example of a common pattern found throughout the natural world is the spiral. Many seashells have a spiral design. A galaxy is a much larger example of this design. Plants, too, may follow the pattern of a spiral as they grow.
Many human-made patterns can be found in art and architecture. Visible human-made patterns often imitate natural patterns. For example, a spiral staircase is a common design.
Mathematics can be used to describe visible patterns. For example, geometry is a kind of mathematics that deals with shapes and figures. Shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles can be seen every day in buildings, objects, art, and nature. Crystals are objects found in nature that have regular patterns of flat surfaces. These include ice, salt, and sugar. Salt is made up of cube-shaped crystals.
INTERVIEWS WITH SYMMETRY EXPERTS
To fully complete the Fearful Symmetry NOVA Award, scouts are to learn more about symmetry by visiting an art museum or interviewing someone about the importance of symmetry. We've sourced some interviews below explaining the importance of symmetry in art. Watch any or all of them to complete this requirement!