By Martin McBride, 2020-08-23
Tags: transformations
Categories: gcse geometry

Transformations move a shape from one place to another and may have other effects too. There are four main types of transformation:

  • Translation, which slides a shape to a different position.
  • Rotation, which spins the shape about a point.
  • Reflection, which creates a mirror image of the shape.
  • Scaling, which makes the shape bigger or smaller.

You can also apply a combination of two or more transformations.


A transformation is often described as mapping one shape onto another. For example in this case:

Translating a triangle

We can say that a translation will map shape A onto shape B. In this case, translating triangle A 5 units to the left and 4 units down will map A onto B.

This can be done as a single translation (5 to the left and 4 down at the same time).

You could also transform the shape in two or more steps. For example, you could move the shape 2 to the left, then 4 down, then 3 to the left, which would use three steps to get the same result. An exam question will often ask for the single transformation that maps one shape onto another

Here is a video that shows translations and rotations:

See also

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