The folding problem

Achievement Objectives
GM1-2: Sort objects by their appearance.
Student Activity

Can you fold your paper squares to make them look like each of these designs?

Specific Learning Outcomes
Create squares, triangles and oblongs by folding paper
Identify and describe shapes
Devise and use problem solving strategies to explore situations mathematically (guess and check).
Description of Mathematics

Although to an adult, this paper-folding problem is simple, to young students the approach to take to make each design is not so obvious. As the students solve this problem they are learning about shapes. It provides an opportunity for students to use their visual and spatial skills. This activity can also start forming understandings about fractional parts of regions.

Required Resource Materials
Activity

Problem

Can you fold your paper squares to make them look like each of these designs?

Teaching sequence

  1. Introduce the problem taking a piece of paper and folding it in half lengthways. Ask the students to predict what they will see when you open out the paper.
    What shapes can you see?
    Are they the same size? How do you know?
  2. Draw the designs on the board or give the students the Copymaster of the problem.
  3. After the students have worked on their own for a while, stop them and discuss:
    Who was able to make folds to look like this design? Tell us how you did it?
    Which one was the hardest? Why?
    What kind of shapes do you notice in the papers that you have made?
  4. If your class is ready, present more complex patterns for them to work out. Or ask the students to make their own folding problems to share with the class.

Solution

Designs 1 and 3 involve a single fold. Designs 2 and 4 require 2 folds.

Extension

Can you fold a square so that it shows 3 rectangles?
Can you fold a square so that it shows 3 triangles?
Can you fold a square so that it shows both triangles and rectangles

paperfoldext.

 

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