Paper folding - plaited Platonic solids
Origami and paper folding can provide a particularly accessible, visual means of inspiring and exciting children and older students about mathematics. The intake of breath from an audience watching a butterfly ball flutter apart is truly a sign of mathematical inspiration!

We are now offering practical activity workshops for Key Stages 1 to 4 focusing on the mathematics of origami and paper folding, which we can run in your school over a full-day or half-day, with several groups, as a special mathematics event. The workshops are run by Frances Watson who is a former Advanced Skills Teacher, and now NRICH’s Primary PD Lead.

Learning aims and outcomes of the workshops

In delivering a curriculum with an emphasis on problem-solving, creativity and developing robust knowledge and technical skills, paper folding offers a practical, purposeful and collaborative activity suitable for a wide range of ages. Paper folding and origami also particularly helps develop fine motor skills in young children.

Origami models of geometric 2D and 3D objects can provide a practical starting point for exploring mathematics. Creating and unfolding models and examining the geometric properties of the creased paper can help to develop understanding about symmetry and fractions, and leads naturally on to proof through extending such mathematical reasoning.

The paper folding acts as a focus for discussion and development of mathematical language as well as providing a manipulative which lends a physicality to many of the properties being discussed and helps students to link the abstract concept with something concrete to support the idea.

About the workshop format

Paper folding - stellated dodecahedronSessions typically last 30-40 minutes at KS1, 45-60 minutes KS2, and 50-75 minutes KS3/4, each involving about 30 children - you can organise the time how you wish, to suit your timetable. Some time will be required for set-up and packing away.

The presence of a teacher is required for each session and any other help is welcome – inviting parents as helpers can be a good idea, as well as an enjoyable way of them sharing in their child's experience of a maths event.

Venue required

The workshops can be run in a classroom, or a suitable similar space. For younger children (Reception, Years 1 and 2), it may be best to use a venue with plenty of space to spread out 2D paper folding activities, such as a hall or gym. It is best if a dedicated venue is available for the full whole-day or half-day session.

Costs and booking

Paper folding - skeletal octahedron

The fee for a paper-folding workshops visit is

  • £650 for a full day, including setting up, packing away and two short breaks..
  • £465 for a half day, including setting up, packing away and a short break.  

Additionally there will be charges for travel expenses at 45p/mile from Cambridge and, where necessary, for overnight accommodation.

For information or to make a provisional booking please email Frances Watson to discuss date availability.

Please note our cancellation policy before making a booking.