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Decoding Geometry: How origami can help teach math

While geometry can sometimes be tricky to understand for some kids, it can be fun to learn and practice specific skills! It's all a matter of how it's taught. John Felix, Park Street Education Tutor, shows how origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, can be a great educational tool to teach geometry as it’s a fun medium to interact with and can easily illustrate concepts. After all that learning, kids will have fun shapes they created that they can put on display!

Written Park Street Education Tutor, John Felix.

Origami is an excellent tool for teaching geometry to kids. The process of folding paper into various shapes and designs not only sparks creativity but also introduces kids to math concepts in a fun way. The whole process of the origami skills enhance the students handwork, precision and the transcription (translation) of a 3D figure to 2D. It can help kids understand geometric concepts such as symmetry, angles, edges, and vertices.

One of the main benefits of using this art as a teaching tool is that it allows kids to visualize mathematical concepts in a tangible way. As they fold paper, they can see geometric shapes take form, and they can experiment with different combinations of folds to create new shapes that reach a 3D level of complexity. This hands-on approach to learning not only engages kids but also helps them remember the concepts better.

Origami can be used to teach kids about symmetry, a fundamental geometric concept. Through paper folding, children can understand line symmetry, rotational symmetry, and half-turn symmetry. Origami models such as the classic crane, the butterfly or even the boat can help kids understand these concepts. Additionally, kids can learn about angles by folding paper into different shapes such as triangles, squares, and rectangles.

By folding paper into different shapes such as cubes, pyramids, and tetrahedra, kids can understand the relationship between the edges and vertices of these shapes. They can even create their own shapes and explore the number of vertices and edges in each shape.

Origami is an excellent tool for teaching geometry to kids. It allows them to visualize mathematical concepts, experiment with different combinations of folds, and it makes learning fun. There are a variety of origami websites that offer free tutorials and printable instructions. Check out and for excellent tutorials and print outs!

Beyond improving maths skills, origami also provides many benefits including improving fine motor skills, promoting concentration, and enhancing spatial awareness. So, teaching kids with origami can serve as an introduction to geometry and also as a reinforcement of previously learned concepts, and is surely a great activity for kids of all ages.

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