Frieze Patterns Lesson 1: Footprints in the Sand

Australian curriculum number (ACMMG114)

Lesson abstract

Students physically recreate the movements used to make patterns of footprints left in sand. Through this, they revisit the ideas of flip, slide, turn and mirror image and symmetry and learn more precise language. They then explore the symmetries in the footprint patterns and record them in a table.

Mathematical purpose (for students)

Shapes, and patterns made from shapes, can have several different types of symmetry.

Mathematical purpose (for teachers)

This lesson reviews flip, slide and turn transformations introduced in earlier years by looking at how patterns of footprints can be made. It introduces the language of rotation, reflection and translation. In addition to line symmetry (associated with reflection) introduced in earlier years, students encounter rotational symmetry (half turn only) and translation symmetry. There is potential to discuss centre of rotation and axis of symmetry.