Few years ago, I was taken aback by a statement made by my friend “If children are left to their own devices, most of them will grow up to be astronauts”. Although I did not agree with the statement therefore sheepishly I asked my friend ‘What is the rationale behind your random statement?’.

I was kind of impressed by his argument. I wondered if there was a similar resource of magic that can be used for mathematics as well. I see a large number of students of Mathematics struggling with the abstraction of equations. Personally, I have struggled learning and later teaching mathematics over the last 30 years.

My quest to search for an answer led me to make new discoveries, one among many was ‘Origami’.

So, I went ahead and learnt some basics of origami and was amazed by its power. I have recorded a video, to give you all a sense of how Origami can be used to take mathematics beyond its boring equations and to a realm of intuition, possibilities, imagination and magic.

In the video, I will discuss two concepts, one from a lower and one from a higher grade. I have made a video on the same.

Concept 1(for Lower Grade): I am going to prove how the diagonals of a square bisect each other using folding. Watch the video below.

Concept 2(for Higher grade): How to find the sum of an infinite geometric series can be intuitive using paper folding. Question is that you have to find the sum of the following series

Sum = ½ + ¼ + ⅛ + 1/16 + 1/32 + 1/64 ……

Can you find the sum? What would the sum be? Watch the video below. This one is mind blowing, trust me!

"Origami is the art of paper folding which is often associated with Japanese culture. In modern usage, the word "origami" is used as an inclusive term for all folding practices, regardless of their culture of origin. The goal is to transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques.

There are lots of fun math activities for families to do together that don't require special materials. Infact ,all you need is a few sheets of paper.

Why Origami for Math Activities?

Origami is great for making ideas about different shapes and space. Children can learn about maths at home hands-on through fun activities that inspire conversations about numbers , geometry and spatial relations. The same sheet of paper can look completely different depending on where and how it is folded.

The art of Origami or paper folding has received a considerable amount of mathematical study.

Do you know the major Advantages?

1. Real world applications

What do Pizza boxes , Paper bags and fancy napkins have in common? You're right! Origami!

2. Geometry

Origami has been found to strengthen an understanding of geometric concepts.

3. Thinking Skills

Origami excites other modalities of learning. It has been shown to improve spatial visualization skills using hands - on learning.

4. Fractions

Paper folding can demonstrate the fractions in a tactile way and help students to understand how one-half, one-third and one-fourth can make a certain different shapes.

Summary

There are lots of visualizing techniques and in my opinion Origami is simple and easy. What is beautiful is how much can be learned through an ordinary piece of paper, complex concepts become obvious with origami. Mathematical ideas which are difficult to grasp are now crystal clear.

Concepts which we study in high school can be very easily understood by children in lower grades. That is the beauty of Origami! It brings numbers and geometrical shapes into life and one can really admire the magic of mathematics.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who invented origami?

Many studies assert that origami was invented by the Japanese about a thousand years ago, but its roots may well be in China.

What are the benefits of origami?

Origami excites other modalities of learning. It has been shown to improve spatial visualization skills using hands-on learning.

What is the most popular origami shape?

Crane. The traditional origami crane is perhaps the most popular example of origami. It uses a bird base, which is a square base plus two petal folds.