Here’s a Fun Geometry Transformation Activity—Make Paper Aquariums!

Rotation, reflection, and translation made easy.

Geometry Transformation Activity: Transformation Aquariums

This geometry transformation activity is inspired by Classroom Magic’s transforming goldfish. I took the goldfish idea and turned it into an aquarium art project! Students learn about transformations by constructing fish that represent each transformation: reflection, rotation and translation.

What you need:

  • Blue, black construction paper (for the aquarium)
  • Various colors of construction paper (for the fish)
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Markers, crayons or colored pencils
  • Googley eyes
  • Paper fasteners
  • Pencils

What to do:

  1. After teaching students about the different transformations, give each student one blue sheet of construction paper and 1/2 a sheet of black construction paper. Using a pencil, ruler and scissors, students will create an aquarium shape.
  2. After they have created a shape for their aquarium, students decorate it, creating a habitat for their fish. They can use markers, crayons or colored pencils to create pebbles and plants.
  3. Once their aquarium is ready, it’s time to add their fish. Rotation: They create one fish, lay it on their aquarium and punch a paper fastener where the eye of the fish would be. This will allow for the fish to “rotate.” They write rotation next to the fish. Reflection: For reflection they create identical fish and make them mirror each other. Then they draw a line to show where the reflection occurs. Translation: For translation, they simply create two identical fish and draw a line to show the fish sliding.
  4. After the students have constructed their transformation aquariums, hang them up in the room!