Ms. Mahan's Art Time

Symmetrical alien bugs
Summer 2013: Symmetrical Alien Bugs

Children love creepy, crawly insects. Aliens are even better. Combine the two and you will have the attention of every child. This project also focuses on a math concept: symmetry. Art is a great tool for absorbing math skills. Integrating art with math improves visualization, problem solving and critical thinking. Even the children struggling in math respond well to this project and are thrilled when they open up their creation.


Art and Math

Adapted for: Ages 6–10

Objective: Symmetry and fine motor skills

  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Colored construction paper
  • Construction paper crayons, regular crayons, of oil pastels

Optional: Pictures of insects, googly eyes, sequins, glitter, yarn, etc.

  1. Do a quick lesson on symmetry (see below).
  2. Brainstorm on the types of insects you like. Why do you like those insects? Could you combine a bumble bee and scorpion together and give it spiky legs? Could you give it six alien eyes? What types of insects would you find on another planet?
  3. Take a sheet of construction paper and fold it in half lengthwise (hotdog style).
  4. You will draw half a body while the paper is folded. Draw a line from the top of the paper to the bottom of the paper. When drawing the line, emphasize a line that shows half a head and half a body. The line will need to be drawn along the fold, not the open side of the paper. This will need to be emphasized several times for younger children.
  5. Add on half of the legs, antennas, etc., to the side of the bug’s body. When drawing small body parts, draw them as a thick shape versus just one line so the bug is easily cut out.
  6. Cut out the entire bug while the paper is folded, making sure not to cut off the legs or antennas. Open to find a full alien bug!
  7. Glue the bug down to another piece of paper. You can use black or a contrasting color of paper as the background.
  8. Decorate the bug using crayons, glitter, scrap paper and anything else you would like to add. Remind the child that whatever is added to one side of the bug will need to be added to the other to keep it symmetrical.
Quick Lesson on Symmetry

Symmetry is when one half is the reflection of the other half.

The “Line of Symmetry” (shown here in red) is the imaginary line where you could fold the image and have both halves match exactly.

Symmetry Lesson
Jessica Mahan
About author:

Jessica Mahan, an art teacher for the Republic School District, is also an area artist. Her artwork can be viewed at

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