Explore Math with Origami – review

By Marc Kirschenbaum & Daniel Scher
Publisher: Fit to Print Pub.
ISBN: 9781951146238
146 pages, 254 x 203 x 8mm

This is a collection of 40 origami projects aiming to teach mathematics through the geometry of folded paper. It covers the properties of triangles, parallelograms, rhombuses, folded from squares. Pentagons form beautiful multicolored patterns that can tile a floor. Also within are Tangram shapes, used to create and solve puzzles.

Marc Kirschenbaum is a leading American origami artist active since the 1970’s. His designs have appeared in over fifty books and have been shown in major origami exhibitions. He ias a long-term volunteer for OrigamiUSA. Daniel Scher is a mathematics teacher, researcher, software developer, and writer. He is a leading expert in the use of interactive mathematics software.

The book is primarily for teachers and the required level of folding ability is remarkably (and thankfully) minimal. The low-key cover doesn’t really encourage you to look within, but when you do, anyone with an ounce of interest in origami/maths will find much to delight them. Unlike other books in the same field, the theory is kept to a minimum, allowing the teacher to expand wherever they wish, but ensuring that the materials can be used with a young audience, where the joy of patterns is a wonderful base from which to reveal the mathematical concepts that underly them.

I’ve been working in this area for many years, but found new ideas throughout and cannot recall another collection as carefully and engagingly presented. Marc and Daniel are to be congratulated. At £20.99 softback $7.90 kindle, I can highly recommend this book, but please, something more visual for the cover next time?