Investigating Symmetry Outdoors Using Photo Booth

24 May 2013 · 4 comments

in Digital & ICT Outdoors, Maths Outdoors, Technologies, Urban

The Photo Both facility on my iPad is definitely worthy of further investigations

I always feel it is good to follow up open-ended introductions to challenges and activities which allow children to further develop core skills in different curriculum areas.

A couple of years ago I blogged about reflections and beginning symmetry outside. I enjoy the curiosity that reflections present to children. On Photo Booth, one of the special effects is a mirror. In my previous Photo Booth blog post I just showed a vertical axis of symmetry. However, turn the iPad horizontally and the axis of symmetry changes to a traditional landscape reflection as shown below:

Definitely cloud land…building houses in the air
One challenge that immediately springs to mind, is where it is possible to make a mirror image look “normal.” In other words can we create a symmetrical picture that looks less mirror-like. Below is a a lovely example. You have to look very carefully to realise something is amiss. The main clue is in the pattern of the nails at the top.

Getting a truly normal symmetrical photo is really tricky. I struggled with this fence railing. Mirror images do love distortions!

One of the clever functions of the Photo Booth effects is that they can be moved around the screen. In the image below, it’s the sorrel leaf on the left which is the axis of symmetry. Some how it doesn’t look quite right. In an episode of Dr Who, I would feel like I was in a parallel universe with leaves like this around me.

Environmental print is a bit of a giveaway that we are in a “mirror world.” The advantage of being able to take a photo is that we have a permanent record of the mirror image. With a standard handheld mirror we tend to see a temporary version.

Trying to merge this into one dog litter bin was quite a challenge. I still got two metal poles no matter how hard I tried.

I think it is definitely easier to photograph buildings with straight edges. This photo looks almost like the real thing. Only the notices and flowers give the game away.

So many doors are symmetrical that our eye might pass over the subtle oddities of this photo:

Drains are fun to photo. There is only one foot officially in my photo but the mirror image is convincing 🙂

My best bit of fake work had to be this water access cover. It really does look remarkably complete. You have to look at the surrounding gravel to know any better.

When children come back after taking lots of photos. And believe me, they will take LOTS, then sifting through the photos is not really a feasible job for a teacher. It’s better left to the children. Now, thanks to a tip via Twitter, I was introduced to the Pic Collage which is a very handy free app for iPads, iPhones and Androids. This makes cutting, pasting and editing photos incredibly easy. The children can choose their best photos and create a poster about them. Here’s my first time effort:

Given how much the mirror feature encourages experimenting, it is good to let children run with their discoveries and ideas. Have fun too!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom Bedard May 27, 2013 at 12:42

Juliet, I think you are having way too much fun with this. It’s almost as if you are playing to learn. Hmm, what a great concept.


Juliet Robertson May 30, 2013 at 21:01

LOL! Yes! Sometimes ideas grow arms and legs!


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