MATH: Doodle-Butterflies (Symmetry)

Time Required: Two 45-minute sessions
Skill Level: Beginner
Recommended Grades: K to 2nd

In this activity, students will work in pairs to doodle symmetrical butterflies to be displayed as stained glass renderings mounted on windows or against fabric backdrops. This activity is simple, yet it yields exquisite results.

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Lesson Plan



Precut 1 large, medium and small butterfly template wing for each pair of students.

Print out a picture of this Monarch Butterfly.

Step 2

Whole Group: Visit the National Geographic for Kids website to explore the symmetrical wings of a monarch butterfly. Discuss the shape, lines, colors and markings on the butterfly's wings.

Step 3

Fold the printed Monarch Butterfly and guide students to note how the two side match. Use the word "symmetry" and "symmetrical" to describe the properties of matching characteristics.

Step 4

Ask: Does the size of the butterfly matter? Can the wings be symmetrical on a small, medium and large butterfly?

Step 5

Share the goal: During this session, students will work with a partner to doodle 1-small, 1-medium, and 1-large doodle-butterfly with matching, symmetrical wings.

Step 6

A) Model how to use the 3Doodler.
B) Model how to use the pre-cut wing templates and chalk to design butterfly wings on each set of tissue paper squares.
C) Show the students how to trace around the pre-cut template using chalk, so as to leave the chalk outline on the tissue paper.
D) Use chalk to make symmetrical markings on each set of butterfly's wings.
E) Doodle over the chalk butterfly outline on the tissue paper, and the symmetrical markings.
F) Flip template around to doodle the opposite side of the butterfly's wings.

Step 7

*Optional: Use a pocket mirror. Hold it against one side of a set of wings. Ask whether markings on wings match.

*Teacher may model doodling wings that are NOT symmetrical to assess whether students note the differences.

Step 8

Hand out materials to each pair and circle to assist and assess. Each pair should have tissue paper, 3 size wing templates, chalk, and a 3Doodler.

Step 9

Help students mount on paper, fabric or windows.

Wrap Up

Students will share their Doodle-Butterflies and note symmetrical designs. Discuss whether size affected the symmetry of their butterfly wings. Students will share their Doodle-Butterflies on Twitter. @3Doodler #3DoodlerEDU


The teacher will assess students’ understanding of symmetry through their Doodled butterfly wings.

Possible Extensions

Go on a nature walk. Have students identify other natural elements with symmetry, e.g., a leaf. Have students 3Doodle over the lines of the leaf to enhance symmetrical characteristics. Discuss "lines of symmetry" and "rotational symmetry" using doodled shapes.


  • collaboration - to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.

  • color - the quality of an object or substance with respect to light reflected by the object, usually determined visually by measurement of hue, saturation, and brightness of the reflected light; saturation or chroma; hue.

  • drawing - the art or technique of representing an object or outlining a figure, plan, or sketch by means of lines.

  • large - of more than average size, quantity, degree, etc.; exceeding that which is common to a kind or class; big; great.

  • line - an infinite extent which is one-dimensional and straight.

  • matching - a person or thing that equals or resembles another in some respect.

  • medium - a middle state or condition; mean.

  • problem-solving - the process or act of finding a solution to a problem.

  • shapes - the quality of a distinct object or body in having an external surface or outline of specific form or figure.

  • size - the spatial dimensions, proportions, magnitude, or bulk of anything.

  • small - of limited size; of comparatively restricted dimensions; not big; little.

  • symmetry - the correspondence in size, form, and arrangement of parts on opposite sides of a plane, line, or point; regularity of form or arrangement in terms of like, reciprocal, or corresponding parts.

Educational Standards

Common Core

Model with mathematics.

In This Lesson

Students will model symmetry by designing and doodling butterfly wings.

Common Core

Look for and make use of structure.

In This Lesson

Students will distinguish defining attributes of symmetry in the wings of butterflies by examining lines, shapes, and patterns.

CS Teachers

Decompose (break down) a larger problem into smaller sub-problems with teacher guidance or independently.

In This Lesson

Students will break down the process of recognizing, identifying and understanding attributes of symmetry during this activity.


Use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

In This Lesson

Students will use the 3Doodler to create symmetrical butterfly wings.

Common Core

Create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

In This Lesson

Students will use a 3Doodler to doodle symmetrical markings on their butterfly wings.


Use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.

In This Lesson

Students will seek feedback from peers throughout the doodling portion of this project.

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