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ERIC Number: EJ915187
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Feb
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1072-0839
Fold in Origami and Unfold Math
Georgeson, Joseph
Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, v16 n6 p354-361 Feb 2011
Students enjoy origami and like making everything from paper cranes to footballs out of small, colorful squares of paper. They can invent their own shapes and are intrigued by the polyhedrons that they can construct. Paper folding is fun, but where is the math? Unless teachers develop lessons that address mathematical objectives, origami could be nothing more than a cute activity. Take advantage of student interest and motivation to develop concepts and processes of algebra--which, to many middle school students, is abstract--and to connect algebra to something concrete and real. Area and volume are important, specifically in the study of geometry and measurement. Beyond formulas, student understanding of these concepts is not always as secure as teachers sometimes think. Students often mistake area for volume or have difficulty understanding how changes in one dimension affect measurements in another. In this activity, volume and area provide a meaningful context for studying patterns and functions. Using origami, students make paper models of cubes and, in the process, explore relationships and change. Students then manipulate their models for more discoveries. The added benefit of making models of other polyhedra is that it will lead them to further algebraic investigations. Patterns and functions are integral to the study of mathematics, and algebra and origami can provide a meaningful as well as fun context in which to study them. (Contains 8 figures and 3 tables.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A