Freshman Scholars Program 2013

Origami and Mathematics


Instructor:  Bryan Faulkner, Ph.D


Project Description:

Up to two students interested in mathematics and/or origami.

Students participating in this project will explore origami techniques which demonstrate mathematical principles. For example, any angle can be trisected using three simple paper folds, but it is impossible to trisect an angle using straight edge and compass. This project will require attention to detail while following origami instructions. While working through various sequences of folds, students will explore, conjecture, and form mathematical proofs.

Most activities will be taken from the following two books:

Thomas Hull's book Project Origami: Activities for Exploring Mathematics is a resource of classroom activities. Among the topics in Hull's book, students will learn several modular origami techniques, how to solve cubic equations, and how to divide a strip into equal parts. Depending on the students math background, these topics can be explored at various depths from Euclidean geometry through abstract algebra.

Robert Lang's book Origami Design Secrets: Mathematical Methods for an Ancient Art is a resource which delves deeply into the art of origami using rigorous mathematics. Students will learn basic origami models and explore their bases and crease patterns. Some additional topics may include: "cutting" the paper by splitting points and adding extra paper by a process called grafting.

Depending on the students' interests, we may also work with origami tessellations using Eric Gjerde's book Origami Tessellations.


Bryan Faulkner, Ph.D.

After earning a doctoral degree in Mathematics from Clemson University in 2008, Bryan Faulkner accepted an assistant professor of mathematics position at Ferrum College.  Dr. Faulkner is the program coordinator for the mathematical science program at Ferrum and teaches a wide variety of mathematics courses.

If you have specific questions about this project, please contact Dr. Faulkner directly at BFaulkner@ferrum.edu.

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