My interest in origami was initiated by Yuki and Reiko, two Japanese exchange students we hosted. The photo below shows two beautiful hexagonal boxes and their lids they presented to us – excellent examples of modular origami.
I then set out to find as many books and websites on paper folding that I could. I gathered together many models and activities into one book (its cover is shown below). I found that paper folding was an intriniscally motivating activity for many students. Now I would not dream of teaching a geometry unit without some paper folding. There are some very obvious applications such as:
1. Polygons – triangles, rhombus, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, etc.
2. Angle Properties – eg. 180 degrees in a triangle, trisection, etc.
3. Polyhedra – cube, rectangular prism, tetrahedron, octagon, etc.
5. Powers of 2
6. Algebra and Problem Solving
Any serious study of Origami should include the story of Sadako Sasaki. This heart rending story of a young Japanese girl who has Leukaemia results in Sadako trying to fold 1000 paper cranes. I highly recommend that you read “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” by Eleanor Coerr. My Origami Self Assessment rubric covers a unit of work that starts with reading this book and finishes with the student having to teach someone else to fold their chosen model.
Origami is such a vast topic that I cannot begin to do it justice in this short blog post. But take my advice and go on a jouney of self discovery – you and your students will love it!
Check out my origami web links on Diigo.
Karen Bass’ students listed the following things they had learned/experienced through her “mathagami” projects. Patience, precision, “don’t give up”, creativity, geometric concepts, and that math class is fun.
My favourite origami model’s are: shirt, sonobe cube, fancy box and modular swan (pictured). Their is no doubt in my mind however, that the richest mathematical origami task is folding a circle into a truncated triangular pyramid. But that is material for another future blog post.
Have fun folding and let me know what your favourite model is.