or, Integrating Origami in Lesson planning

Our children love origami, and as school librarian in South Africa, I foster that love wherever possible. In addition to our afternoon Origami Club, with the help of my colleagues, I integrate origami into regular lessons.

Recently our grade 4s have been studying the topic of Food Chains in Science. I arranged for the classes to visit the library and use our resources to find answers to a number of questions. The children worked in groups of 3 or 4 at different stations, and one of the stations included instructions for making the face of either an origami cat or dog. (The children were free to choose.)

As I would not be able to supervise the origami station closely, needing to be available to assist any children with difficulties, I set up a board with each step represented by the paper folded to that point, glued in place, but with the section needing to be folded loose, so the children could manipulate the paper.

The children were supplied with paper of the same size as that used on the board, so that they could compare their work with the examples. I left the boards up in the library after the class sessions, and they have proved so popular with other library visitors, that I have created a permanent origami maker space with instructions and recycled paper.

Although some children had difficulty and needed help from myself, another teacher, or peers, they all produced a recognisable piece of origami. This they glued to their question papers, adding details and pictures of the animal’s food. Then there was a sentence to complete, and this page was added to the rest of the work and formed part of their science assessment for this unit, counting for 10 marks out of a total of 30. 4 out of the 10 marks were allocated for neat and accurate folding.

The children really enjoyed the activity, and it was an opportunity for those who attend the extra mural club to help their peers, and show off their own proficiency in reading diagrams without adult assistance.

Cheryl Gibbs