Grade Level

5-6, 7-8


5 periods, 40 minute periods


Half sheet (4.25×11) of copy paper, 9×6 construction paper (fade resistant is (preferable). SAKURA Gelly Roll Metallic Gel Pen 10-Pack (Amazon link), Uniball silver and gold metallic gel pen (amazon link for silver and gold pen packs)


Pen and Ink

Lesson Objectives

For the student to…
recognize a line of symmetry and utilize it in drawing a symmetrical insect.

Introductory Activity

Introduce students to the idea of symmetry and the line of symmetry. Symmetry is a good topic for making cross-curricular connections, such as math and science.
Explain to students that they will be drawing a symmetrical insect. Allow students time to find resource imagery for the insect they want to work with.

Lesson Process

Use the half sheet of copy paper to draw the insect. Based on your choice of insect, decide if you want to work with the paper in a vertical or horizontal composition (also known as portrait or landscape). Fold the copy paper in half; this fold line becomes your line of symmetry. Work from the center out to begin to draw, trying to keep the shapes in symmetry. Look for and draw the big shapes first. Try to use the majority of your paper. This is not a final draft, so feel free to erase and redraw areas as needed. After the big shapes are drawn, move to smaller shapes and details. Once you finish refining the drawing, you can transfer it onto your good draft, the black construction paper.

There are a couple of ways to transfer the material. One possible way is to use carbon paper or transfer paper. Carbon paper and some transfer papers use blue ink impregnated on the paper. Pressure from the pen transfers that ink onto the sheet below. Some transfer papers are made with a coat of graphite that transfers onto the final image. You can also create the same effect if you don’t have transfer paper. Flip your sketch, put scrap paper underneath, and shade evenly all over. Next, position the drawing pencil side down onto the 9×6 paper and anchor it with tape on the top and bottom. Trace firmly over ALL your lines with a pen. You can now remove and see the transferred image. Next, take a silver or gold metallic pen to review all your transferred lines. After that, you can begin embellishing the shapes inside your bug with other colored metallic pens with line and dot patterns. Start with lines, dots, or crosshatching. Place them closer or further apart depending on how much color you wish to apply. You can also use patterns like what you might find in zentangles to embellish your insect. Feel free to vary your line weight, making some lines thin and others thicker. You can also introduce more than one color in a shape; remember to maintain symmetry. This means you should plan to use the same patterns and the same colors of your line of symmetry.


symmetry, line of symmetry, vertical or horizontal composition (or landscape/portrait orientation)


Mathematical symmetry explained
Tips and tricks on drawing symmetrically
Author’s YouTube demonstration of the lesson

Author & Website/Blog

Bethany Thiele

Supporting Images