Origami is a STEAM Engine
Origami is a great way to merge science, technology, engineering, art, and math together: STEAM.
Origami Improves Students’ Skills
Origami, the ancient art of paper folding, has applications in the modern-day classroom for teaching geometry, thinking skills, fractions, problem-solving, and fun science. What do pizza boxes, paper bags, and fancy napkins have in common? Well, you might have guessed it — origami.
Origami, the ancient art of paper folding, is making a comeback. While some of the oldest pieces of origami have been found in ancient China and its deepest roots are in ancient Japan, it can also impact today’s education. This art form engages students and sneakily enhances their skills — including improved spatial perception and logical and sequential thinking.
An Art Form for All Subjects
Researchers have found several ways that origami can entice lessons while giving students the necessary skills. Here are some ways that origami can be used in your classroom to improve a range of skills:
Origami has strengthened an understanding of geometric concepts, formulas, and labels, making them come alive. By labelling an origami structure with length, width, and height, students learn key terms and ways to describe a shape. Using origami to determine the area by applying a formula to a real-world structure.
Origami excites other modalities of learning. It has been shown to improve spatial visualization skills using hands-on learning. Such skills allow children to comprehend, characterize, and construct their own vernacular for the world around them. In your class, find origami or geometric shapes in nature and describe them in geometric terms.
The concept of fractions is scary to lots of students. Folding paper can demonstrate the fractions in a tactile way. In the class, we use origami to illustrate the concepts of one-half, one-third, or one-fourth by folding paper and asking how many folds students would need to make a specific shape.
Origami allows children to solve something that is not prescribed and enable them to make friends with failure (i.e. trial and error). In the class, show a shape and ask students to create a way to make it. They may get the solution from various approaches. Remember, there is no wrong answer.
Origami is a fun way to explain physics concepts. A thin piece of paper is not very strong, but if you fold it like an accordion, it will be. (Look at the side of a cardboard box for proof.) Bridges are based on this concept. Also, origami is a fun way to explain molecules. Many molecules have the shape of tetrahedrons and other polyhedra.
Bonus: Just Plain Fun!