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Get Your Origami On

Thank you to Ed Campos for translating this week's newsletter into Spanish. Check out the link!

Growing up, I was awful at Origami. If it meant folding a paper into a cool design so I could pass a note during class, that was one thing. Sitting down in an art class and folding paper for a purpose, though, was a major challenge. Recently, Nalini Joshi shared a tweet about Mathigon and I just had to share it with you.

When you go to, there are a ton of beautiful creations that are laid out for you to try... FOR FREE. They start out rather simple (well, relatively) as you can see in the image above. If you click on any of the images on the site, you can download the "net" and print it out. The net of a 3D object is a diagram of all facets (or faces) laid out flat. This makes life a little easier when trying to fold that thin sheet of paper into something beautiful that you and your child can be proud of.

When you finish with some of the first few shapes, you need to try at least one of these:
There are more, and they get even more complex. So, here's what you need to do: find a printer and run off a few copies of some of the more basic nets. Then, pick one of the "Archimedean Solids" and run off a few copies of it. I say a few copies because there's a good chance that the first attempt is not going to be a success... and that's alright.

Here are some things to keep in mind when trying Origami at home:

This is designed to be fun. If it isn't fun, stop. Come back to it later. Maybe start with something more basic, then gradually move up to more complex designs.

There is no way (that I know of) to cheat. Use whatever resources you can to get to the final product.

It's OK to not be perfect! Oh, so your design doesn't look like the impeccable model in the picture? Totally fine. Maybe it's something that you laugh about, how far off it is from what "it's supposed to look like" before moving on to something else.

There is a lot of math involved. Included on the website is a two page explanation of the math behind Origami and it's work checking out. If it's too intense, that's fine. Just know that some beautiful mathematics pops up from the art.

Thank you for bringing math to the table, one conversation at a time.
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