“Traditionally, craft activities have been incorporated into early childhood mathematical learning experiences as an effective means of fostering curiosity and interest, and introducing abstract mathematical concepts through the use of concrete materials. However, in the primary schooling years creative and active mathematical learning experiences often give way to approaches such as computational drills and rote learning which are less than inspiring for students and often do not result in meaningful understanding. This paper shows that craft activities, in particular paper-folding, can also be valuable in the primary years as a means of promoting affective, behavioural and cognitive engagement in the mathematical learning. ” Kathy Brady Flinders University http://www.merga.net.au/documents/RP52008.pdf
On Wednesday, the After School program built an empire! Several of our friends worked with John on folding and building paper cities with colored construction paper on a cardboard foundation. They were each given a piece of cardboard for the base and told to have fun. The finished products were full of creativity and thought as well as logistical thinking. Studies have shown that origami and paper folding can not only help with the development of motor skills and muscle development, but that it aids in the understanding and teaching of math, art, and even social studies.
Teachers have found that paper folding to helps students develop a better understanding of the principles of Geometry. “Paper folding can be used in the classroom to introduce the standard results of school geometry, such as the transversal and parallel lines results along with results concerning angles in convex polygons and centres of triangles, for example. Angle bisectors, midpoints, perpendiculars are all straightforward “constructions” for the paper folder. ” http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ743584.pdf
No matter what age, paper folding is just plain fun. If you follow the rules of origami, you can make any number of things from fruit to animals. If you are more free-spirited, build a paper city and design how the buildings look and the layout of the streets. The process is creative, educational and fun, and the product will be unique.