Outdoor Reflections

13 April 2011 · 6 comments

in Maths Outdoors

Here in Scotland, our younger children are expected to have fun creating a range of symmetrical pictures and patterns using a range of media. Immediately the outdoor possibilities of such experiences run riot in my mind where the explorations can be bigger, better and different.

Before mirrors are handed out or put up outside, reflections can be explored and are sources of interest and fascination to children. Do you remember the Greek legend of Echo and Narcissus? At this time of year with daffodils blooming, it’s a seasonal connection as Narcissus became a daffodil when he wasted away looking at his own reflection in a pool of water.

Look at landscapes and try to spot different features in the expanse of water

People and animals create moving reflections. This can lead to all sorts of copying games

Even compact snow provides a visually reflective surface that is fun to slide on!
In Blackpool, children are particularly lucky in that right in the centre of the town is this amazing sculpture, The Wave by Lucy Glendinning:

This photo is a bit dark, taken late afternoon in winter, so click on the link above to really enjoy the detail of this public artwork.

Blackpool is also home to the world’s largest glitter ball. 47,000 mirror tiles create dramatic reflective light patterns on the promenade.

Of course, other countries have very interactive reflective sculptures. Look at The Bean in Chicago. It’s official name is “Cloud Gate” and it was designed by British artist Anish Kapoor:

Look at the distorted skyline. Encourage children to investigate distorted reflections and how they make one feel!

I liked the hidden surprise underneath – a beautiful swirly mirror reflection
And, not to be outdone, Linköping, a Swedish town, has a reflective sculpture that you can clamber and climb on. It was designed by Monika Gora and is called Metamorfos!

Can the children work out why a sculpture has been given its particular name? Would they call it something different?
The surface of Metamorfos reflects everything around it, being made of stainless steel and having seven hills.

Reflections represent beauty, intrigue, exploration and investigation. After finding out about all the reflective surfaces in your own neighbourhood, a few art activities, indoors or out are a must! Let children reflect on reflections!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Dancin' Fool April 13, 2011 at 16:37

Great post!


Juliet Robertson April 13, 2011 at 20:30

Thank you. It was one of those posts that just flowed. I didn’t expect to cover public art – it simply happened.


Personal Trainer Guy Putney January 28, 2015 at 11:05

Wonderful! I always think it’s great how fascinated people are by reflections particularly in art installations, there’s that piece, I believe it’s in the Tate Modern, that is literally just a mirror, says it all really!


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