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Project Origami: Activities for Exploring Mathematics

Thomas Hull
A. K. Peters
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Steven Frankel
, on

Project Origami, by Thomas Hull, is quite an interesting idea. Hull, a mathematician, uses origami to gain insight into various branches of mathematics.

The book is written in the style of a primary school mathematics workbook. It's divided into twenty-two "activities," each of which is subtitled with the mathematical topics it covers. The span of topics is astounding, ranging from the obvious, such as Geometry, to the unexpected, such as Number Theory. There's even the amusing "math for liberal arts" subtitle.

It's hard to pin down the intended audience. While folding paper may seem silly to some college students, the math behind the folds can actually be pretty sophisticated. Some of the activities, such as "Folding a Parabola" could be used to assist precalculus students to visualize and understand quadratic equations. Some of the more difficult activities might require more mathematical sophistication for a full understanding, but might also be wonderful way to give younger students a glimpse of mathematics. Conversely, some of the topics go so far as to call for the use of abstract algebra for a fully general explanation.

Overall, this book is an excellent resource for mathematics educators who would like to include some hands-on experimentation in their teaching. While its most obvious use is to present some interesting topics of mathematics to calculus-age students, it contains enough mathematical sophistication for most undergraduates, provided that they can take it seriously enough.

Steven Frankel is an undergraduate Engineering student at The Cooper Union in New York, NY. His primary interests lie on the line between Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, including Signal Processing and Control Systems. He can be contacted at

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