12 Real-Life Examples Of Rotational Symmetry To Understand It Better

A shape exhibits rotational symmetry when it retains its appearance following a little amount of rotation by a partial turn. The rotational symmetry of a shape explains why an object’s shape remains unchanged when it is rotated about its own axis. If a geometric shape is rotated 180 degrees or at certain angles, either clockwise or counterclockwise, many of them seem to be symmetrical.

While various teaching methodologies are adopted to teach different concepts, it is important to make students aware of the presence of math in the real world. Books, activities, and manipulatives are some of the other ways to teach mathematical concepts. Realistic examples and applications help them comprehend the importance of a particular concept and its usage in a practical way.

Below are some of the examples of the rotational symmetry around us which can help us understand the ways a concept is applied realistically.

Realistic examples of rotational symmetry 

Students cannot understand a concept simply by a theoretical explanation. Teachers and parents need to present certain realistic examples to make them understand the concept by getting the practical hang of it.. Check out the below examples of rotational symmetry and make learning fun and engaging.

1. Triangle


Take any normal triangle into consideration. It follows the concept of rotational symmetry. A normal triangle remains the same in shape even when you rotate it. Such shapes may also be found in certain Nacho chips that follow rotational symmetry in the shape. The triangle exhibits rotational symmetry when it is rotated at a 120° angle.

2. Windmill

.  Windmill

You must have spotted huge windmills on your journey. Even when the windmill keeps rotating, the shape remains the same. You can see the same shape while it is still or moving. Similarly, a paper windmill is a classic example of rotational symmetry as it looks the same from each side and angle. Here, a windmill depicts an order of 3.

3. Recycle Logo

Recycle Logo

A recycle logo is made with similar arrows that form a triangle. This logo also follows the rotational symmetry concept as it looks the same from each side. Try to rotate the logo to 120 degrees. You will be amazed to see the same logo. Seems magical? Well, the logo depicts a rotational symmetry of order 3 as it showcases the concept of 3R.

4. Fan


 You witness a fan probably every day. Have you seen it from the top or left and right sides? It looks the same from most angles. Interestingly, a fan also falls in the category of rotational symmetry. It shows equal parts even while it is moving. This is because the wings of the fan are designed in equal proportion to one another.

5. Four Leaf Clover

Four Leaf Clover

You must have seen a four-leaf clover which is generally considered a symbol of luck. This four-leaf clover is a good example of understanding rotational symmetry. When you rotate the leaf, its leaves are designed in a way that they look similar from all angles. Hence, this leaf indeed follows rotational symmetry in real life. So the next time you spot a clover leaf, know that it depicts a mathematical concept with its unique creation.

6. Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel

The happy fairs in the city are sure to have a giant wheel that attracts kids and adults. When you spot a Ferris wheel, you generally cannot predict the starting or the ending point of the wheel. This is because a Ferris wheel falls under the category of being rotationally symmetric. Whether you watch it from the left or right, each angle gives the same view of this adventurous ride.

7. Snowflake


Ever wondered why snowflakes are lovely to see? They look gorgeous and perfectly fit to be in proper shape. This is because all sides of a snowflake are rotationally symmetric to each other. Each side gives a similar view and the shape of a snowflake does not change even when it is rotated at any angle. In this case, a snowflake follows an order depending on the number of perfectly proportionate sides.

8. Starfish


A starfish is delightful to see but you can never know which side comes first. The starfish is a good example of understanding the concept of rotational symmetry. Even when it is rotated or viewed from different angles, the shape appears exactly to be the same! This is because it is rotationally symmetric in nature. The order of rotational symmetry follows the order depending on the number of sides.

9. Dartboard


Dart is a fun game to play however, have you ever observed a dart board? Place it anywhere and however in the room, it looks the same. This is because a dartboard applies the concept of rotational symmetry. It is designed in a manner that represents similar views from all angles.

10. Fidget Spinner

Fidget Spinner

The Fidget Spinner is a popular gadget in the current era. Observe a fidget and you can never tell which side is the first and which one is the last. The Fidget spinner also follows the concept of rotational symmetry. It is similar from all sides and views. It does not change its shape even when rotated. Since the spinner has 3 different blades to it, the order of symmetry is 3 here.

11. Car Wheel

Car Wheel

A car wheel basically keeps rotating as the car starts. However, if you deeply observe, a car wheel is rotationally symmetric. Even when the wheel rotates or stands still, it looks similar from all angles. Try watching it by twisting the sides; you will notice how the shape remains the same.

12. Flowers


Nature has another interesting way to explain the concept of rotational symmetry. If you observe, some flower petals follow the pattern of rotational symmetry. Even when you try to rotate them or keep them still, the petals look equal in proportion. Hence, flower petals are also a helpful example of rotational symmetry.

That’s it..

While rotational symmetry is an easy concept, examples and real-life applications make it more practical for students to understand and apply it. Parents and teachers may present these examples through classroom activities or games.

You can also ask children to observe their day and spot numerous objects that depict the mathematical concepts of rotational symmetry. Make them understand the importance of this concept and how it is used in the everyday world, right from nachos to the windmill. Examples are a great way to create an engaging learning experience.

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