Origami – Both Art & Math

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Learning Objects (9)

Direct Access Links:

The Origami Lab (The New Yorker)
The Math & Magic of Origami (TED)
Origami: Mathematics in Creasing (The Conversation)
Mathematics & Art (American Mathematical Society)
Ingestible Origami Robot (MIT News)
The Atomic Theory of Origami (Quanta Magazine)
Origami – Improving Student Skills (Edutopia)
Easy Origami Instructions & Diagrams (Origami Way)
Origametry: Origami Geometry (5th Grade Lesson University of Hawaii)


Origami is the ancient Japanese art of paper folding. One uncut square of paper can, in the hands of an origami artist, be folded into many shapes. The art of origami has been going through a renaissance with ever-increasing levels of complexity. This rise in origami complexity has emerged at the same time scientists, mathematicians and origami artists have been discovering the mathematical rules that govern how paper folding works.

Origami & Math

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The Origami Lab

Robert Lang, origamist and physicist, was given an origami book when he was six years old. The gift was from a teacher who had run out of ways to keep him entertained in math class. He took to it immediately, fascinated by the infinite possibilities within the seemingly finite – an ordinary square of paper.

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The Math & Magic of Origami

Robert Lang is a pioneer of the newest kind of origami — using math and engineering principles to fold mind-blowingly intricate designs that are beautiful and, sometimes, very useful.


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Origami: Mathematics in Creasing

Mathematics is about understanding the rules and patterns of the universe. In the case of origami, we need to look at the geometry of the crease pattern, where the lines intersect, what angles they form, and in what direction the creases fold.


Origami & Art

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Mathematics & Art

Traditional origami was concerned with taking a single piece of paper and folding it into complex shapes, typically that of an animal or something representational. However, Tomoko Fusè revolutionized the world of origami from a mathematical perspective by popularizing “modular” origami. In modular origami one typically starts with congruent pieces of paper (usually squares) and folds each of these into identical “units.” These units are then “woven” together to form highly symmetrical objects such as polyhedra, tilings, or boxes.


Health Care Uses

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Ingestible Origami Robot

In experiments at MIT and other institutions, researchers have demonstrated a tiny origami robot that can unfold itself from a swallowed capsule and remove a swallowed button battery or path a wound on a simulated esophagus or stomach wall.


Robotics, Aerospace & Architecture

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The Atomic Theory of Origami

Researchers have explored ways to use origami to build tubes, curves and other structures, which they say can have applications in robotics, aerospace and architecture. Even fashion designers have been inspired to incorporate origami into dresses and scarves.


Teaching & Learning Origami

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Origami – Improving Student 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.


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Easy Origami Instructions & Diagrams

Learn how to make easy origami with these simple instructions and diagrams. Origami doesn’t have to be difficult and frustrating. There are lots of figures that are easy and fun to make. Just follow the step by step guide and you’ll be able to fold something in little time.


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Origametry: Origami Geometry

Elementary Lesson – 5th Grade

Although its practice dates back to 17th-century-A.D. Japan, paper folding has also been a tradition in other parts of Asia (e.g., China) and even in Europe (e.g., Germany, Italy, and Spain). However, Akira Yoshizawa’s work in the early 1900s inspired a renaissance of the art form, and starting in the 1980s, mathematical studies of origami led to applications ranging from how stent implants are surgically inserted to repair blood vessels to how car airbags and even space satellite solar panels are deployed.


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