Short Blocks

Maths Year 1 Autumn Shape and Data

Each unit has everything you need to teach a set of related skills and concepts.

Explore shapes and line symmetry (suggested as 2 days)

Planning and Activities

Although symmetry is not specified for Year 1 in the National Curriculum, Hamilton believe that teaching symmetry in Year 1 maintains continuity with its introduction in the Foundation Stage. The National Curriculum Guidance specifies that teachers can teach areas of study in different year groups than those mentioned in the Curriculum, so long as they are taught within the same Key Stage. You can choose to teach this symmetry content in Year 1 or in Year 2.

Day 1 Teaching
Show a picture of a butterfly. Explore the pattern and discuss the fact that the pattern is the same on both sides of a line. Draw out the notion of symmetry and explore other symmetrical patterns.
Group Activities
Use the 'Flip and Flop’ in-depth problem-solving investigation below as today’s group activity.
Or, use these activities:
-- Paint a pattern on one side of a butterfly and then fold. Open to reveal the symmetrical pattern.
-- Predicting the other side of a symmetrical pattern.

Day 2 Teaching
Ask children if they can remember what the word symmetry means. Remind them that it means the pattern is the same on both sides. Show children different pictures and shapes and identify the lines of symmetry.
Group Activities
-- Make symmetrical patterns from painted string.
-- Sort play dough shapes into symmetrical or not symmetrical.

You Will Need

  • Butterfly pictures & template (see resources)
  • Mirrors, felt-tips, string and paint
  • Paper labelled symmetrical & not symmetrical
  • Play dough & cookie cutters
  • 2-D shapes

Mental/Oral Maths Starters

Suggested for Day 1
Estimating lengths (simmering skills)

Suggested for Day 2
Number bonds to 5 (simmering skills)


Day 1
Find which bugs have a symmetrical and non-symmetrical pattern.

Day 2
Circle the symmetrical shapes and draw a line of symmetry.

Mastery: Reasoning and Problem-Solving

  • Draw a symmetrical pattern by colouring squares on squared paper. You may only colour 24 squares in all – NO more!
  • Draw a line of symmetry on each of these shapes (see download).
  • Draw a symmetrical shape with 2 straight lines and 1 curved line.

In-depth Investigation: Flip and Flop
Children cut shapes from a shape and create symmetrical patterns.

Extra Support

This unit has no separate Extra Support activities.