Different Types of Symmetry
Basics on the topic Different Types of Symmetry
Types of Symmetry – Lines of Symmetry
Let’s review the symmetry definition. A line of symmetry is a real or imaginary line that divides a shape into two mirror images. If an object is symmetric, it has one or more lines of symmetry. Fun fact: some objects have infinite lines of symmetry, such as a circle! If an object has no types of lines of symmetry that means it is asymmetric. What types of symmetry can a shape have? The next section has more information on how many types of symmetry are there and details and answers the basic question: what are the 3 basic types of symmetry?
Three Types of Symmetry – Overview
What are the three types of symmetry? There are 3 types of symmetry: reflective symmetry, translational symmetry, and rotational symmetry.
Reflexive symmetry, or reflection symmetry, is when one half of the object or shape reflects the other half.
Translational symmetry, or translation symmetry, is when a shape or object creates a pattern the same direction and same distance apart.
Rotational symmetry, or rotation symmetry, is when a shape or object is rotated or turned around a central point and looks exactly the same.
Types of Symmetry – Summary
Now that you know the different types of symmetry, you can answer ‘what are the different types of symmetry’ easily! Remember, there are 3 types of symmetry:
Type of symmetry  Explanation 

Reflexive symmetry  Also called Reflection symmetry. Reflexive symmetry is when one half of the object or shape reflects the other half. 
Translational symmetry  Also called translation symmetry. Translational symmetry is when a shape or object creates a pattern the same direction and same distance apart. 
Rotational symmetry  Also called rotation symmetry. Rotational symmetry is when a shape or object is rotated or turned around a central point and looks exactly the same. 
Want to practice more with the question ‘what are the 3 types of symmetry’? On this website you can find different types of symmetry worksheets, activities, and exercises.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding Types of Symmetry
Transcript Different Types of Symmetry
[Nia: Lena] [Yawns] "I'm sooo bored Nico!" [Nico: Steve][excited] "Look what I found!" [Nico: Steve] [Looks at paper] "It says, 'I spy with my little eye (...) [confused] different types of symmetry?" [Nico: Steve] "It seems when we spy an object with a certain type of symmetry, it will lead us to another clue!" Let's help Nico and Nia by identifying objects with [title] "Different Types of Symmetry". A line of symmetry is a real or imaginary line that divides a shape into two mirror images. If an object is symmetric, it has ONE or MORE lines of symmetry. If an object has NO symmetry... that means each half will not be a mirror image, so it is (...) ASYMMETRIC. The first clue says to find an object with reflexive symmetry. Reflexive symmetry is when one half of the object or shape reflects the other half... and it is the most common type of symmetry. This smiley face has REFLEXIVE symmetry, since the right side is an EXACT reflection of the left.
Nico and Nia find a sandcastle. Does the sandcastle have reflexive symmetry? (...) No, each half does NOT reflect exactly, so the sandcastle is ASYMMETRIC. [no vo] What about THIS butterfly, does it have reflexive symmetry? (...) Yes, the butterfly DOES have reflexive symmetry because each half is mirrored. The next clue wants them to find an object with TRANSLATIONAL symmetry. Translational symmetry is when a shape or object creates a pattern in the same direction AND the same distance apart. One example is the pattern HERE, (...) since the flowers are all in the same direction and same distance apart.
[Goes back to Nico and Nia looking around] Nico and Nia find a pattern on a beach towel. Does the pattern have translational symmetry? (...) No, the beach towel does NOT have translational symmetry because the stars are not all in the same direction and same distance apart. What about THIS pattern on the ice cream stand? Does this pattern have translational symmetry? (...) Yes, the ice cream cones have translational symmetry because they create a pattern in a certain direction AND a certain distance apart. The last clue wants them to find an object with rotational symmetry. Rotational symmetry is when a shape or object is rotated or turned around a central point and looks exactly the same. One example is the sun, because when it is rotated around the central point HERE it looks exactly the same. Nico and Nia find a bird. Does it have rotational symmetry? (...) No, the bird does NOT have rotational symmetry because when it is rotated around the central point HERE it does NOT look exactly the same. What about this pinwheel does it have rotational symmetry? (...) [no vo] Yes, the pinwheel does have rotational symmetry because when it is rotated around the central point HERE it looks exactly the same. Nico and Nia have found all the different types of symmetry. Before we see what they do next, let's summarize. Remember (...) a line of symmetry is a real or imaginary line that divides a shape into two mirror images. There are three different types of symmetry. Reflexive symmetry is when one half of the object or shape reflects the other half. Translational symmetry is when a shape or object creates a pattern the same direction and same distance apart. Rotational symmetry is when a shape or object is rotated or turned around a central point and looks exactly the same. [Nia: Lena] [excited/suspicious] "Wait a second Nico! (...) I spy paper and ink in your bag (...) Did YOU create this game?!" [Nico: Steve] "Well, didn't you say you were bored?" [Nia: Lena] "Thanks Nico! There's just one problem (...) I'm bored again!"
Different Types of Symmetry exercise

Reflexive symmetry.
HintsThis flag can be reflected two ways; it can be folded along the dotted lines and will be a mirror image of itself.
Remember, shapes can be reflected horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
Solution4 of these shells have reflexive symmetry. If these shells were folded along the dotted lines, they would be a mirror image of themselves.

Types of symmetry.
HintsShapes with only reflexive symmetry can have either vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines of symmetry.
Does the whale have a line of symmetry?
Remember, objects with rotational symmetry can be rotated around a central point and still look the same, like this object.
SolutionThe windmill has rotational symmetry. It can be rotated around the central point and still look the same.
The flower has rotational symmetry. It can be rotated around the central point and still look the same.
The turtle has reflexive symmetry. It has one vertical line of symmetry.
The flag has reflexive symmetry. It has one horizontal line of symmetry.
The dolphin is asymmetrical. There are no mirror images that could be seen by a fold.
The shell is asymmetrical. There are no mirror images that could be seen by a fold.

Types of symmetry.
HintsRemember, a shape has rotational symmetry if it can be rotated (turned) around a central point and still look the same as the original image.
Does the shape have reflexive symmetry only? Can it be folded and have a mirror image, but not look the same when rotated.
Start by finding the shapes that are asymmetrical, then the shapes with rotational symmetry, then the shapes with reflexive symmetry only.
SolutionThe octopus, the crab, and the blue shell have reflexive symmetry only.
The 3 different beach towels have translational symmetry.
The beachball and the starfish have rotational symmetry.

Lines of reflexive symmetry.
HintsHow many ways can the shape be folded and have an exact mirror image of either side of the fold line?
When a shape is symmetrical, it would have to fold exactly in half and the sides match up perfectly in a mirror image.
A rectangle cannot fold diagonally and have the sides meet exactly, so a rectangular shape cannot have a diagonal line of symmetry.
SolutionEach pair of beach towels has the same number of lines of symmetry.

Identify rotational symmetry.
HintsWhen a shape has rotational symmetry, it can be rotated (turned) and will still look the same as the original shape, like this flower.
Imagine rotating (turning) the shape. Does it look the same?
SolutionThe only image with no rotational symmetry is the crab. If the crab was rotated, it would look different than the original image.

Assigning shapes.
HintsTry to imagine folding the shape in half along an imaginary fold line. If the sides match up exactly, it has a line of symmetry.
SolutionThe palm tree and sail boat have 0 lines of symmetry.
The beach hut, surfboard, icecream cone, and sunglasses have 1 line of symmetry.
The row boat has 2 lines of symmetry.
The sun and the ship's wheel have more than 2 lines of symmetry.
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