Welcome to PLIX Beautiful Symmetry! Explore a branch of mathematics that's profound, yet accessible to creative learners.
🥰 For all ages! 🕐 1–1.5 Hours 👩👧👦 up to 15 Participants 🍎 1–2 Facilitators 🎨 Craft Materials 💻 Scratch Coding
Beautiful Symmetry adopts symmetry as a foundation around which to create works of art and functional materials in physical and digital formats.
Workshop Prompts & Example Gallery
Prompts from PLIX
PLIX Community Remixes
PLIX Community Book Connections
Beautiful Symmetry by Alex Berke Ages 8+
Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy Ages 5+ Recommended by Clara Hendricks (Cambridge Public Library)
The prompt you'll explore determines what materials you'll want to have on hand.
Since there are many ways to explore symmetry, patrons may need some guidance in how or where to get started. When facilitating this activity, we encourage you to support a tinkering mindset, and consider the following to culture a creative learning environment. Check out our general PLIX Facilitation Techniques
Consider having examples on-hand that reflect the cultural diversity of your community. Symmetrical patterns appear in a wide range of textiles, ceramics, wall patterns, tapestries, and from every continent and islands around the world.
While the concept of symmetry and pattern is something learners often encounter in preschool, the domain has a very high ceiling in mathematics research. You won't want to dive into the technical jargon, but it may be helpful to point out to participants to areas where the field of symmetry is relevant: facial recognition, meshes, 3-D modeling, algorithmic art
Playtest and Plan
Remember: There’s no one right way to prepare for a workshop. Use these steps as a loose guideline for planning to run this activity.
- Choose one of our prompts, or come up with a prompt that suits your library community. Our activity guides are for getting you started—feel free to change or create new design elements to suit your local community! All PLIX activity guides are designed for a minimum of 1–2 facilitators
🏁 Play with Patterns
🌿 Organic Collage
🏢 Form and Functions
♾️ Model the Infinite
- Gather materials and print out the zine. PLIX zines are a supplementary resource for patrons and librarians to refer to. Use our guide below to cut and assemble them. Optional: PLIX Beautiful Symmetry Pattern Grid & Tiles
- Make an example project. Try it out with friends and colleagues. Thoughtfully incomplete, good examples feature a variety of approaches and starting points. Use them to inspire learners to make something uniquely their own.
- Try the activity with your patrons. Set a date and time. Easily promote your workshop with our editable template.
- Populate your workshop space with diverse example projects. Create and play together! And remember to document the process by taking pictures of your setup and the creations your patrons have made. (could use some word-smithing here)
- Reflect on what you’ve done, and consider doing it again as a remix! Try out or guided reflection questions, and if new ideas come up, consider remixing a zine with this Google Slides template! (also could use some word-smithing here)
About PLIX Beautiful Symmetry
This activity was developed in collaboration with Jean Slavkovsky (Malden Public Library, Massachusetts), Claudia Haines (Homer Public Library, Alaska), and Alex Berke (MIT Media Lab graduate student) as part of the PLIX Co-Design program, in which Media Lab researchers team up with public librarians to create new PLIX programming.
Other ways to engage with the PLIX Beautiful Symmetry activity: