Focus on Folding - The Ancient Art and Modern Science of Origami

by Students from Montessori Center School in Goleta

January 16 - February 29, 2016

Origami (from the Japanese words 'ori', to fold and 'gami', paper) is a centuries old art form. Every finished piece begins with a square sheet of paper. Completion of the piece requires only folding, no cutting or gluing.

The folding of origami designs was a natural fit for Montessori students who are used to hands-on materials in their classrooms. The 4th, 5th & 6th grade students of Brown Door North at Montessori Center School have been enjoying folding everything from simple hearts and butterflies to complex geometric shapes and hanging ornaments.  They have been creating beautiful cranes and other animals as well as bracelets and stars.

Through paper-folding, students learn basic mathematical principles and develop a unique understanding of geometric principles and spatial relationships.  They also gain patience and develop hand-eye coordination.

Besides the pure joy that origami brings, the students have also learned much about its importance historically and the new roles it is playing in our modern world. They have seen how origami can be a symbol of hope and peace (as inspired by the true story of Sadako and the cranes she folded). In 2011, the upper elementary students folded 1,000 cranes for the victims of the tsunami in Japan, to offer hope and comfort. Modern scientific uses include applying folding principles to such things as the development of automobile air bags and solar arrays on space satellites, to medical innovations like creating new types of heart stents.

The students love origami and have discovered that this timeless art form can truly be enjoyed by anyone.