Beautiful Symmetry Explorations: Rural & Tribal Library Toolkit Project Phase 2

Hi everyone!

We’re branching out :palm_tree: our activity remixes for PLIX Rural & Tribal Library Toolkit Development: Phase 2 Explorations. This thread is a sandbox :beach_umbrella: for Casey, @Cheryl, and @pendleystudio to share, explore, and remix :honeybee: Beautiful Symmetry for their library patrons and community.

Feel free to say hi :wave: and respond to their explorations!

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After trying out your activity, how will you remix?

  • What did you find most enjoyable? Which elements were challenging? What are you excited to explore next?
  • Which focus strategy (passive programming / take-n-make kits / locally relevant remixes / extended interaction plan) are you exploring to adapt / remix the activity? How does this connect to your community or context?
  • What are some concrete next steps to take for rolling out this activity with your patrons?

These questions will help guide your project plan in the coming weeks.

From PLIX Open Hours today, check out the snowflake fish flake school (?). I carved a fish stamp, inspired by @Cheryl Cheryl’s idea of ocean symmetry!


Hello, I was unable to attend the snowflake open hours event but I am working on coming up with a program and I tried out these symmetrical butterflies today



So pretty! I love that this is very different from what people usually do for Beautiful Symmetry.

It looks like a Rorschach test. I see the butterfly. but also a sunset on a beach :beach_umbrella: and fairies :fairy: .


Okay, so I got to do an elevated version of this symmetrical butterfly in 3D with my adults with disabilities class and it was a hit!

I started by very briefly talking about symmetry and we went around the classroom and found things that were symmetrical, like the games we were going to play, the windows in the room, and even ourselves. Then, each student colored two butterfly templates with crayons to be symmetrical if it was within their mental and physical capabilities, those who could not, simply decorated them as they pleased. This kept the program set up with a “low floor” and “high ceiling”. I tried to make sure there were “wide walls” so I offered both butterflies and beatles. If I had done this with a different group, I probably would have had the option to let them design their own insect or use a template. Then each student made one smooshed paint butterfly, so everyone had at least one symmetrical butterfly. Each piece was folded in half and glued to the next and then glued down to paper, making a 3D symettrical butterfly. Working with mental and physical limitation requires some extra planning so we planned to play some symmetrical games like flip-cup four-in-a-row, ping pong, pool and air hockey as students lost interest or became frustrated, though I’d say about 75% made it through the activity on their own or with little help. We had 15 participants and these are the finished results. Sadly I was too busy playing flip-cup to get many pictures of the games.



Rural & Tribal Library Toolkit | Remix Share-Out :cyclone:

Please use this template to share your PLIX activity remix, filling out each table below. Fill out the sections that relate to the remix strategy you are using. Not everyone has to fill-out all of the sections.

Also, this document is formatted so that you can directly copy and paste your answers into the PLIX forum; feel free to share your remix there, too :tada:

The PLIX team will translate this documentation into a formal write-up to be featured as an activity on the PLIX website.

Remix at a Glance
PLIX activity you are remixing: Beautiful Symmetry
Give your remix a name (optional): 3-D Symmetrical bugs
What remix strategy did you choose? Locally relevant remix, and/or take and make
Why did you choose this remix strategy? How does it address a challenge or opportunity in your context? I chose this strategy because I’m only able to visit our rural location once a month. So I used beautiful symmetry with my Young adults with Disabilities group and formatted it to their needs.

I also left take and make kits.|
|Brief description of your remix:|I made a template for butterflies and beetles on graph paper. Each participant created 3 different designs of one type. So 3 butterflies or 3 beetles. Then they glued one side of one bug to the side of another and glued that to paper. Creating a 3-dimensional symmetrical insect.|
|Number of patrons this remix is designed for:|15-20|
|Number of facilitators needed:|0-1 facilitator, my participants had aides if needed for their ability needs.|

Supply Kit

Share the list of materials that you need for the remix. If your remix takes the form of a take and make kit, note what materials the kit contains. If your remix uses any additional materials / handouts (remixed zines, troubleshooting guides, slide decks, table tents, etc.) please share them here.

You can refer to the original supply kits here: PLIX Activities

Material Quantity (per kit or person)
Template on Graph paper 3
Glue stick 1
Markers, colored pencils, crayons or paint depending on preference Varies
Card stock ½ Sheet

Activity Prompts

Complete this section if you changed the activity prompt or added a new prompt.

Remix Activity Prompt
What prompt(s) did you use to frame the activity for your patrons? We looked around the room and found examples of symmetry that naturally occur, and talked about how there is symmetry in nature, and then asked each participant to create their own symmetrical designs on two of the templates. And then had them do a string painting on the third template to get an organic symmetrical pattern.
Did you create any example projects for this prompt? Please describe.

Also please share photos of your creations in the Example Showcase below!|Yes, I made a simple version consisting of three different patterns. Two using color pencils and one using paint.|

Running Your Remix over Multiple Sessions

Complete this section if you are running multiple sessions or doing an Extended Interaction Plan Remix.

Session Prompt General Notes
1 Look around the room and find examples of symmetry. Try to make two of your templates symmetrical with crayons. Use paint on half of your third template and then fold in half to get an organic symmetrical pattern. I did this again using a CD shape as the template for lady bugs and we glued our templates onto CDs to make symmetrical 3-D suncatchers.
2 Take home an art kit. Color each template with a different symmetrical pattern. Glue the left side of one butterfly to the right side of the other, and repeat. Once all three templates are glued together, glue the completed 3-dimensional butterfly to the cardstock. I included pictures of the completed project as a visual example of what to do.

Reflections on Remix Design and Facilitation

Complete this section after running the activity.

What went well? What was challenging? Finding symmetry first really helped the participants understand what they were aiming for in their designs. Everyone was engaged and learned something. Wet paint was a challenge to our efforts to glue bugs together. I might not repeat that with the 3-d bugs but highly recommend using paint to make interesting symmetrical art.
What did you celebrate? Symmetry, engagement, Success!
Which of the PLIX facilitation techniques did you use or think about while planning this remix activity, if any? Low floors, wide walls, and high ceilings. Don’t touch the tools.
Are there any activity-specific facilitation tips that you used with patrons? Let students cut out, color, and glue the project together to their own ability level. Let them truly have ownership, and celebrate it!
What advice would you give facilitators planning to do this remix at their libraries? Don’t take too much time on your example. Everyone is on a different level and you never want to make anyone feel like they can’t achieve the outcome you are looking for.
Additional thoughts to share? If you are working with children or adults with disabilities, I think it’s best to format your activity to a difficulty level that fits your students who prefers more of a challenge and work backward on finding ways to adapt that for participants whose abilities are more limited. Adapt utensils to be more friendly for different motor skills and physical limitations, and have multiple mediums on hand. Have a backup activity that is more passive for people who finish early or get bored easily. Always celebrate each individual outcome as a success!

Example Showcase

Please share photos of example projects and creations that you and your patrons made (drop them in the area below!)

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I received a second supply kit from PLIX through the Rural & Tribal Library Toolkit Project Phase 2 for the Beautiful Symmetry activity. I just ran a program with the supplies so I wanted to share!

Ocean Symmetry Art (in-person program)

Audience Teens, gr.8-12
Number of patrons this program is designed for: ~12
Number of facilitators needed: 1 or more

Supply List

Butcher paper to cover tables
Heavy paper
Transparency film
Pencils/pens/colored pencils
Printed ocean animal images (I also had a slideshow running for inspo)

Activity Prompts

Remix Activity Prompt
What prompt(s) did you use to frame the activity for your patrons? Investigate examples of bilateral/radial symmetry in ocean animals. Use visual art to transform/highlight/remix the symmetry of ocean animals.

I had four stations:

Paint and fold- cut out shape of ocean animal on paper, add paint to one half, fold+squish, unfold to reveal Rorschach paint blobs.

Monoprinting- add paint to clear transparency film, press paper onto surface. I placed a grid beneath the transparency to inspire symmetrical thinking.

Stencils and stamps- I made stencils of ocean animals and abstract patterns with transparency sheets and left paints and brushes out. I also made a few foam stamps and had inkpads out.

Digital Art w/ Scratch - a psychedelic symmetry drawing project I made:

Reflections on Design and Facilitation

How many hours of prep time? How much day-of setup/tear down time? Reading through the PLIX Beautiful Symmetry activity/looking at examples - 2hrs

Finding good example images of ocean animal symmetry - 30 min

Making transparency stencils - 1hr

Making Scratch examples - 2hrs

Making paint/paper examples - 1hr

Day of setup- 1hr

Day of tear down- 45min|
|What went well? What was challenging?|There was a really great variety of patron creations. There was a lot of troubleshooting and talking through how to accomplish something given the tools/techniques available, and some really beautiful discoveries through that process. Patrons didn’t seem terribly interested in the Scratch/laptop station I had set up, so that wasn’t a great success.|
|What did you celebrate?|Happy accidents! There were many times patrons started out wanting to do one thing and in the process they ended up with something totally unexpected.|
|Which of the PLIX facilitation techniques did you use or think about while planning?|Model curiosity and confidence; Celebrate process and product.|
|Are there any activity-specific facilitation tips that you used with patrons?|We talked about how even though symmetry is so common in nature, it is usually imperfect in some way. I tried to tie-in these “natural imperfections” with the idea of celebrating the messiness of process.|
|What advice would you give facilitators planning to do this program at their libraries?|Setup and clean-up took longer than I expected. I’d also suggest being ready for patrons to take the prompts in a direction seemingly unrelated to oceans/symmetry,and that’s okay!|

Example Showcase

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@joem You’re so awesome.

Love the multiple stations with different ways to engage. The examples really show how much your patrons enjoyed the activity and prompts!

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