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What Makes a Good Resource: Translation Game

This page has been archived. The content was correct at the time of original publication, but is no longer updated.
Created on 19 August 2010 by ncetm_administrator
Updated on 03 September 2010 by ncetm_administrator

What Makes a Good Resource

Translation Game

translation games cards

Resource description:

  • A set of 36 cards with numbered movements and directions: 1R(right)2D(down)
  • Translation dice - make your own dice or write similar numbered movements and directions on blank cube with permanent marker.

Teacher comment:

Children begin to learn the concept of symmetry very early on during their primary education, which over time progresses to ideas of reading/plotting coordinates of shape on four quadrants or rotational symmetry. Then there are the concepts of transformation and translation. I wanted to introduce these in a fun, interactive and non-threatening way, so I made up a game. This game can be played as whole class in the starter part of the lesson or during group work. Translation dice can also be used as differentiation as there are fewer movements to consider.

How do I teach this topic? Are my methods effective?

What I did:

During the starter the children practiced translating a square at an angle starting from the zero point on a number line from -10 to +10.

Then the children worked in small groups to play the game. Each group were given one set of the translation cards, shuffled and placed face down on the table. The higher attaining children drew their own four quadrant grids, whilst others were given sheets already prepared, some children worked in the first quadrant only. The idea of the game was to translate a shape that they drew on their grid across the quadrants.

How would I differentiate this for my class?

The children took it in turns to pick a translation card or roll the translation dice, decide where their shape will move to and draw it in its new position. They were encouraged to use different coloured pens to draw each new translation so that they could see them more clearly.

As they worked through the cards they recorded the new coordinates for each move.


This activity was excellent for promoting collaborative work and it really developed the children’s grasp of what translation was as a mathematical concept. Drawing each translation in a different colour was also very appealing as the outcomes were quite creative and gave us some good display material!


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