Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. But it is more than an art form; it is a teaching tool and a field of mathematical study.
Origami is a great tool for teaching math. Origami can increase spatial skills and help students understand many geometric concepts, from shapes and geometric forms, to more complicated concepts like intersecting planes, area, volume, symmetry, and mirroring images. Origami can even be used to teach number theory concepts like fractions and powers of 2. Best of all, origami is fun and creative, and kids love it.
In addition to being a fun tool for teaching math, origami has become its own field of mathematical study. Paper-folding can be used to solve mathematical problems (check out Vi Hart’s video on the origami proof of the Pythagorean Theorem), and math can be used to create incredibly intricate origami designs. In his TED talk, Robert Lang explains the mathematical “laws” behind origami, shows some amazing creations, and talks about how to go from an idea to an origami design using a program called TreeMaker that he offers free on his website. He also discusses some real-world applications that have grown out of the study of origami.