Origami in Maths

The resources on this page have been designed for teachers to use in their schools and may be used freely in that context only. They may not be reproduced or distributed further without permission.

These materials were originally published in the spring 1996 issue of Japan in focus.

Mathematics at Key Stages 1 and 2 includes work on understanding and using the properties of shape.One possible approach to this is through origami. The following instructions for making two basic shapes, an equilateral triangle (which can be the basis for many other shapes) and a six-pointed star were originally from an article by Sam Costello, Liz Cox and Colin Penfold and reproduced with permission of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics.

AN EQUILATERAL TRIANGLE

Start with an A4 piece of paper.
1. Fold the paper in half length-ways, crease and then unfold.
2. Fold the top left corner onto this crease line so that the new fold passes through the bottom-left corner.
3. Fold the top-right corner down so that the edge of the paper lies along this fold.
4. Tuck the flap at the bottom of the triangle under.

A SIX-POINTED STAR

Start with an equilateral triangle.
1. Fold and unfold to mark the centre of the triangle and the middle of each side.
1b. Fold, each corner to the centre of the triangle, crease and unfold. Then turn the triangle over.
2. Fold one corner to the centre of the opposite side.
3. Fold this corner back using the crease made in step 1b.
4. Repeat with the other two corners and then interlock the folds to complete the star.

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