It’s not often you see kids folding colored paper into pretty shapes in math class. Still, many innovative schools today are incorporating the traditional Japanese art into their classrooms to get kids attentive, mentally and physically involved, and learning.
Skills learned through Origami
Literally translated from Japanese, “origami” means folding (“ori”) paper (“gami”). By manipulating a simple piece of square paper into various geometric shapes and converting it into art, children build on various skills. When working both the hands and the mind, children fine-tune their motor skills. When one child has difficulty, another lends his or her hand; this builds social skills as well as the ability to follow instructions.
Math Skills learned through Origami
As for math skills, kids can get first-hand knowledge of everything from simple concepts such as shapes and geometric forms (squares, rectangles, triangles, etc.) to more complicated concepts like intersecting planes, area, volume, mirroring images, and more. Even fractions come into play: often, the paper is folded in half or one-third of the way along a line. Kids can also learn about and practice symmetry, since what is done to one side of the paper is often completed on the other. A child may even feel empowered when manipulating a two-dimensional piece of paper into a three-dimensional structure, thus improving spatial visualization.
Let’s try some Origami!
Kids will be excited about setting their textbooks aside for once and getting their hands on something new. Age is generally not an issue when incorporating origami into a child’s life; instructions for various projects at varying difficulties can be found online and in books. Have a look at these videos for two easy origami designs.
Easy Origami Flower Instructions:
Easy Origami Windmill:
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.
Thanks for this guest post Maria!
It’s great to know that something which lots of children find fun (including my own) also develops maths and other skills. Nice information to remember next time you’re tidying away scrunched up origami planes around the house!