Origami & Mathematics

Last year in a Year 8 Maths class I used Origami for the first time during a Geometry unit. I was very surprised by the enthusiasm shown by the students! They were much more attentive and focussed than usual and learning the meaning of terms such as diameter, circumference, trapezium, vertices, etc. took place painlessly. Students saying: “Can we do more origami please!”, plagued me in subsequent lessons. 

Many topics in Maths can be taught using Origami including: area, volume, properties of parallel lines, angle facts, pythagoras and algebra!

My favorite model is the Sonobe Cube pictured below. Instructions for making the cube can be found here. Variations of the Sonobe cube such as tetrahedrons and an octohedron can be accessed here. Once students make their cube then they can calculate its surface area and volume, then check to see if Euler’s formula is correct (V + F = E + 2). 


I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has used origami in the classroom.


About webmaths

I have been teaching Mathematics in Victorian secondary schools for 30 years. I use the www to make my maths lessons better. I hope this blog will give other teachers some ideas to try in their own classes.
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2 Responses to Origami & Mathematics

  1. Nick says:

    I, personally, have not used origami in the classroom. However, if I were going to, I would almost certainly use the book “Project Origami” by Thomas Hull.

  2. Hello, Jeff. You have a great mission and a great site!

    That said, I am a 70 year old amateur math researcher who has recently stumbled upon a non-intuitive method of stategically folding a Mobius Strip into a dicube-like version of ann n=2 n-polycube. I know it is visually intriguing and it also seems to me to be mathematically robust, but I do not know if it is already well-known to mathematicians. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated about such a Mobius possibility.

    Warmest regards

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