May the Folds Be With You

May the Folds Be With You

May 4, 2019

small-origami-yodaOrigami is the art of folding paper into the shape of animals, flowers, boxes and other things. Turns out you can make an origami Yoda, and as our friends the Tegtmeiers learned, you can make it as big as you need it. Their son William made a lifesize origami Yoda as his Halloween costume. He had to measure the little Yoda, then figure out how many times taller it had to be to fit his whole body. Then he had to tape together a paper square that many times bigger. Then he had to pre-crease the square (that alone took more than 2 hours), and finally make all the folds in the right order. This video shows how he did it, so check it out! And by the way, happy May the 4th!

Wee ones: How many sides does a square have?

Little kids: If it took 5 folds to make each of Yoda’s pointy ears, how many folds do his ears have together?  Bonus: If it took William 1 hour to tape together the paper, 2 hours to pre-crease it, and 3 more hours to fold it into Yoda, how long did the project take?

Big kids: How many 1-foot-by-1-foot pieces do you need to make a giant 8-foot-by-8-foot square? (Hint if needed: The area is the width times the height.)  Bonus: If the mini-Yoda is 2 1/2 inches tall and the big Yoda needs to be 45 inches tall, how many times taller is the big Yoda? (Hint: How tall are 2 mini-Yodas together?)

The sky’s the limit: If you fold an 8-foot square in half, then in half again, what’s the area of your new shape in square feet? And if you’re feeling bold, what’s the area in square inches?









Wee ones: 4 sides.

Little kids: 10 folds.  Bonus: 6 hours.

Big kids: 64 square pieces.  Bonus: 18 times as tall (17 times taller). A pair of Yodas is 5 inches tall, so it’s as tall as 9 of those pairs.

The sky’s the limit: 16 square feet, or 2,304 square inches. You end up with 1/4 of the original 64-square-foot square, so 1/4  of that is 16 square feet. A square foot is 12 x 12 or 144 square inches, so the new shape is 16 times that, or 2,304 square inches.

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About the Author

Laura Overdeck

Laura Overdeck

Laura Bilodeau Overdeck is founder and president of Bedtime Math Foundation. Her goal is to make math as playful for kids as it was for her when she was a child. Her mom had Laura baking before she could walk, and her dad had her using power tools at a very unsafe age, measuring lengths, widths and angles in the process. Armed with this early love of numbers, Laura went on to get a BA in astrophysics from Princeton University, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business; she continues to star-gaze today. Laura’s other interests include her three lively children, chocolate, extreme vehicles, and Lego Mindstorms.

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