Butterflies, Moths and Symmetry

Our recent post about moths and butterflies shared with you some ways to get out and get involved in two Citizen Science projects – National Moth Week and the Big Butterfly Count. We hope you were inspired to learn more about these incredible creatures and had fun with your spotting!

As the Big Butterfly Count continues until 9th August, you can still get involved in this great project; but for a little something extra this week we’re thinking about symmetry and getting a little creative.

Very simply, symmetry is where something is the same on both sides around a central line or axis. This axis – also a line of symmetry – divides the symmetrical shape in half. If a shape is not the same on both sides, it is said to be ‘asymmetric’.

An illustration show the lines of symmetry on different shapes

Humans are said to have ‘bilateral symmetry’ – that is, there is one line of symmetry down the middle, which runs from our head to our feet. What other shapes or creatures can you think of that are symmetrical? Can you draw them, and draw where the line of symmetry goes? Do they have more than one line of symmetry? Square paper is really helpful for this!

Butterflies and moths are great examples of creatures that show bilateral symmetry. They have a single line of symmetry down the middle of their body, meaning the patterns on their wings are the same on both sides. This makes them fascinating examples to explore symmetry – and have a bit of fun at the same time!

Art for Kids Hub has some great worksheets to get started with– two examples are here:

https://www.artforkidshub.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/symmetry-butterfly.pdf and https://www.artforkidshub.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/butterfly-symmetry.jpg

Fancy getting a little more creative? Why not draw or cut out a butterfly or moth outline shape. Twinkl has some great resources for this here. Then using crayons, felt tips, colouring pencils or even paints, why not have a go at creating your own butterfly or moth wing pattern? You could find a picture of a real moth or butterfly and copy its patterns and colours; or let your imagination run wild and create your own pattern.

Looking to learn more about symmetry? Check out this TedEd video on YouTube.

As always, we’d love to see any of your makes – share them with us via our social media account or email [email protected].