The Franklin Institute's Resources for Science Learning x
Home (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)For Learners (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)For Educators (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)Leadership (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)Partnership (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)About Us (Main Navigation - Resources for Science Learning @ The Franklin Institute)

Minutes from ME

Love that Snow!


Frequently the most useful part of teaching computer skills to young children is to simply show them what can be done and leaving them free to experiment themselves. No profound effect is expected beyond having seen and done it. A fine purpose is to fill those mental reservoirs with things they know computers can do, at the same time indulging in some well-deserved silliness. While truly using the skills and imagining their applications will come later, the small imaginative leaps being made now are so satisfying.


Flipping and rotating are definitely in the realm of "nice things to know" but not immediately useful. They are computer manipulations applied to images which have already been created in the PAINT (or PAINTBRUSH) program. Drawing tools such as the rectangle, the ellipse, or the text tool are used to make the images.

First use the Select (or Outline) tool to outline the image (or part of image) to be rotated or flipped. Click on Image in the toolbar, then on Flip and Rotate in the drop down menu to display the options to Flip Horizontal, Flip Vertical or Rotate By Angle in multiples of 90 degrees, as illustrated here.

Flip/Rotate How-To

Demonstrations of each option follow.

Outline (Select) an image, click the Flip Horizontal button, then click OK.
The "before" and "after" results of flipping a drawing and text are shown below.

Flipped Bunny and FRED

Now outline an image, such as the same bunny or name, but this time click the Flip Vertical button then click OK.
The new "before" and "Oops!" results are shown below.

Another Flipped Bunny and FRED

Next outline an image, click the white Rotate By Angle button, click the 90 degree button, then click OK. The image is rotated!
Continue with different degree selections and note the rotated results.

Spinning Bunnies!


In exercises with small children it is best to have them draw pictures of their own to use as objects. Older children could use their own typed name, but pre-readers often don't recognize the difference yet between reversed letters so flipping them horizontally is no great revelation.
Demonstrate the steps described above then stand back and be entertained as the children gyrate their drawings every which way!
A popular activity is to fill the screen with many different items, outline any combination (a single, a group or even the entire screen) and then rotate it. Flipping the whole screen is certain to cause much wonderment and giggles.

Screen full of drawings

Perhaps horizontal and vertical flipping can lead to a discussion of mirror images - where would a mirror be placed to cause the various reversed images? And, if letters are used, suggest that certain letters are watched carefully as they flip - do they all change appearance? If not, then why not? Meander into a discussion of symmetry - look for other letter or number examples.
In examining rotation, dictate that the object be rotated in a sequence of quarter turns. The children obviously won't understand the degrees of rotation but they will be able to predict the next orientation in a series of quarter turns. Share the lesson in the lab by having a classmate call out a command and see the classmates carry it out - "Stand the bunny on its head!", "Make it lie down", "Put it right way up!"


A very good use of continuing time with rotating and flipping is simply to DO IT! Try everything and see what happens... Circulate the lab and help when asked, but only when asked. step back and watch the children exchanging ideas and explanations of their results with these tools.
Incorporate Copying and Pasting by making one item, such as a snowman from the opening and closing bar here, and then copying and pasting to make a row of copies. Now reorganize each separate snowman in any direction you wish.

Copy and paste to make an array of identical items then select and change just one item in some way. Each child leaves their puzzle on the monitor screen as we all take our "Art Gallery Stroll" at the end of lab time. The challenge is to "find the odd man (or men) out" on each computer screen. Collaboration and consults with each author are encouraged!
See how you do with the following!

Eggsact Differences?

All the Same?

Bunny Animation Incidentally, the individual rotated images can fairly easily be converted from the PAINT bitmap (.bmp) format to .gif format and be made into a simple animation. Keep each image duration in the animation file longer than normal so that the children have time to see each component as they created it.

Ships Ahoy!!

THANK YOU, Anders, for your great help.

The "Minutes from ME" Archives

GO Back to inQuiry Almanack