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Radial Symmetry Lesson For Kids

blakc and white radial designs on paper plates.

How To Draw Black And White Radial Designed Paper Plate

These steps were used to create interesting and contrasting radial designs on paper plates for our easy model magic food sculptures. Now kids can use these steps to create their own radial designs on a plate, circle paper, or any other circular material (like cardboard).

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What does it mean for an artwork to have balance?

Balance is one of the Art Principles of design. A great way to explain to kids is for them to think of a seesaw. They understand that if an adult is on one end and kid is on the other it would not be balanced.

You can then tie that to art by saying what if the adult was the only red in the painting. Would that create balance? When artists create balance they are trying to not let the other parts of the art overshadow other parts. In this case the red would be too strong and would not create balance.

What is radial symmetry?

Symmetry helps create balance because of repetition on the page. Furthermore, radial symmetry comes from the center. Radial symmetry can appear in natural and man-made objects and artworks.

examples of radial symmetry with flower, dandelion and radial shapes.

Use Plate As Part Of Easy Sculpture Project

You certainly can use this radial symmetry drawing lesson on its own. However, we have used this plate design in our Model Magic food sculpture art project. If not using this plate in that project, feel free to add color to make it your own.

Before designing a plate, students should understand why they are only going to do black and white. If not, you will for sure have kids ask, why can’t I use color?

Here are a few questions to help them come to their own conclusions about contrast.

  • What would happen if my plate and sculpture are both super colorful?
  • Would I see the sculpture?
  • Show an example of radial symmetry. Kids will not create a “perfect” radial symmetrical design, but you can use the following steps to get a cool black and white plate design.

Radial Design Plate Steps For Kids

radial symmetry for kids with two different plates showing a dot and line in the middle.

Step 1: Draw a dot in the middle of the plate (or as close to it).

Step 2: Draw a line with a pencil that divides the plate in half.

hand drawing on two different plates to create 8 equal sections on paper plate.

Step 3: Rotate the plate and draw another line that divides in half again. Don’t be scared to talk about fractions. We love when art and math go together!

Step 4: Rotate the plate so that you see an “X”. Draw a line that touches the dot again. Rotate the plate to finish the guidelines so that there are 8 equal places.

Step 5: Begin designing the plate. If you draw a shape or line in one triangle, you have to repeat it in every triangle. 

4 different views of the same paper plate with radial symmetrical designs added.

Step 6: Encourage kids to add thicker lines and color in different shapes to create variety in their radial designs.

two paper plates with black designs and details.

Step 7: Each child can design their plate in this way and then outline with a pen sharpie.

two different black and white paper plates showing radial symmetry drawings.

Encourage kids to create variety in their plate design by also coloring some shapes in or even coloring the negative space (space around the shapes) in their final design.

Want to make more natural designs that still have some radial symmetry? Check out our easy Georgia O’Keeffe inspired art lesson for kids.

Free Printable Instructions

Yield: Radial Symmetry Art Lesson

Black and White Radial Art Drawing

blakc and white radial designs on paper plates.

Create a black and white radial design on a paper plate. Create this easy symmetry drawing lesson on its own or add it as a part of another sculpture lesson.

Prep Time 1 minute
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Difficulty Medium
Estimated Cost Less than $5

Materials

  • Paper Plate

Tools

  • Pencil
  • Pen Sharpie
  • Optional: Thicker Black Permanent Marker

Instructions

    1. Draw a dot in the middle of the plate (or as close to it).
    2. Draw a line with a pencil that divides the plate in half.
    3. Rotate the plate and draw another line that divides in half again. Don’t be scared to talk about fractions. We love when art and math go together!
    4. Rotate the plate so that you see an “X”.
    5. Draw a line that touches the dot again.
    6. Rotate the plate to finish the guidelines so that there are 8 equal places.
    7. Begin designing the plate. If you draw a shape or line in one triangle, you have to repeat it in every triangle. 
    8. Each child can design their plate in this way and then outline with a pen sharpie.
    9. Encourage kids to create variety in their circle design by also coloring some shapes in or even coloring the negative space (space around the shapes) in their final design.

Notes

This art lesson is meant to help children understand the concept of radial symmetry. Your end results will not be 100% perfect, but you will still end up with a cool drawing.

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Use this radial symmetry drawing lesson to create all sorts of fun and balanced drawings.

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