Thinking in Three Dimensions
Fun with Origami
We live in a world of three dimensions. We move through space, either left or right, forward or backward, up or down. Everything around us — from the houses we live in to the objects we use in everyday life — has three dimensions: height, length, and width. But our three-dimensional world is often represented in two dimensions (or flat planes) in the pages of books, on the posters in our bedrooms, on our television screens, even on our computer monitors.
In this activity, you'll create your own three-dimensional shapes by making some origami models of simple boxes and containers. Once your models are complete, you'll draw these shapes to explore how three-dimensional shapes can be represented in two dimensions. You'll also observe and draw your models from different perspectives — or "frames of reference" — to see that things look different depending on how you view them.
What You'll Need What To Do
Understanding Dimensions
What's Origami?
Origami is a traditional Japanese art of paper-folding. (In Japanese, "ori" means folding and "kami" means paper.) It has been an important part of Japanese culture since the sixth century. With origami, you can make simple shapes, like boxes and containers, or intricate designs and models of butterflies, frogs — anything you can imagine.