home elementary second third fourth intro comparisons book

Reflections, Translations,
and Rotations

translation rotation reflection


  • Pencils (1 per student)

  • Background sheets, page 151 (1 per student)

  • Lion sheets, page 152 (1 per student)

  • Scissors (1 per student)

  • Tracing paper (1 sheet per student)

  • Scotch tape dispenser (for the teacher)

  • Glue sticks (1 per student)

  • The completed project prepared by the teacher before the lesson (with the traced-half of each image not yet glued)


This lesson helps students understand and remember three mathematical terms they might ordinarily find intimidating: reflection, translation, and rotation. In short, they will:

  1. Trace half of a lion face three times onto tracing paper.
  2. Cut out each traced image.
  3. Perform a reflection, translation, or rotation with each traced image.
  4. Glue each traced image in its appropriate position next to one of the original three half-face photographs.

Before students begin working, the teacher needs to explain the three words using her previously constructed project as a reference. The traced half of each picture must be unattached so that the teacher can demonstrate how “flipping” an image creates a reflection, “sliding” an image creates a translation, and “turning” an image creates a rotation.

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activity book