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This is an activity based on the picture book Pepetuna. 
This book may no longer be available for purchase.

Achievement Objectives
GM1-5: Communicate and record the results of translations, reflections, and rotations on plane shapes.
Specific Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to demonstrate through modeling their understanding of the link between reflection and doubling.

Students will be able to identify examples of reflection in the natural world.

Description of Mathematics

Examples of reflective symmetry can be found in the natural word as almost all animals are structured as two sides of a midline. The relationship between doubles and halves can be demonstrated using reflective symmetry.

Required Resource Materials

Pepetuna by Denise Whitmore 
This book may no longer be available for purchase.

Copymaster 1

Material Master 5-6


Art supplies


Side by side

This activity is based on the picture book Pepetuna

Author: Denise Whitmore
Illustrator: Denise Whitmore
Publisher: Puffin (2008)
ISBN: 9780143504962

The amazing 5-year life cycle of the pepetuna-puriri moth is told alongside the drawings depicting the first 5 years of a young boy’s life. Children of Aotearoa/New Zealand will recognise many of the events, settings, plants and animals from their own lives.

Lesson Sequence:

  1. Prior to reading create some outline drawings of “half figures“- for example: a butterfly, a person, a fern leaf, a caterpillar, an ant. See examples in Copymaster 1. Support students as you complete the drawings together focusing on what elements need to be reflected as you create the matching side. Ask students to think about what features of their own body are reflected side by side. Hands, fingers, toes, eyes, knees etc. Discuss animals that have different numbers of legs - are their legs reflected on a midline (spiders: 4 on one side and 4 on the other). If you have a long mirror hold it on the midline of students and have everyone see the half reflected in the mirror. Smaller mirrors can be used to reflect half of one’s face or can be held up to the outline drawings to show what needed to be drawn.
  2. Introduce the book Pepetuna and ask students to look carefully at the moths on the cover. Ask
    What features of the moth are reflected side by side?
  3. Explain to students that there are 2 stories going on in this book at the same time. One is the story of the moth’s life (in words and coloured pictures) and the other is a story about a boy’s life (black and white drawings). Read through the story drawing students’ attention to the egg-caterpillar-moth development.
  4. On the next day read the story again asking students to have their “antennae” tuned in for examples of reflection in the illustrations. Talk about what kind of things they could be looking for
    Where might we find reflections, where things are the same side by side?
    As you read stop to explore each page looking for examples of reflective symmetry in the animals and plants. Legs, leaves, wings, feet, eyes- there are dozens of examples. If you are working on doubles encourage students to practice counting in 2s or figuring out “how many” by using their doubles knowledge.
  5. Create a mural for a display board of a Reflection and Doubles Bush Walk. Make one side a bright background (daytime) and the other side a dark background (night). Students can draw/paint/sculpt (egg cartons and pipe cleaners) the creatures that you may find in the bush focusing on getting the reflective symmetry represented in many different kinds of creatures. Ferns and kowhai are good examples of reflective symmetry plants that can be painted or made with collage techniques.
  6. A follow up game can be create with the caterpillars in Material Master 5-6 where students have to create the legs with clothes pegs (example 5 pegs) which always creates a double number of legs (10) and is also an example of reflective symmetry.
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Level One