Traditionally mathematics is taught using a problem solving approach. Text books are filled with plenty of math exercises. Students are kept busy completing homework. Most students learn by the rote method and apply mathematical formulae in solving problems without any understanding. The rote learning method is mechanical and less inspiring. This leads to disinterest in the subject as children do not realise its incredible hidden beauty. As teachers of maths we have to devise ways to foster creativity and create interest in the subject amongst all our students. I constantly develop new methods to teach the subject and I’d like to share one such method here – that of paper folding to teach abstract math concepts. This technique can significantly benefit a teacher in the effective engagement of students and in developing their cognitive skills. The technique allows students to actually visualise the results and proofs of various concepts.
Paper folding strategy for teaching math
Try this simple activity using paper to explore a simple math idea and you will realise the many possibilities that exsist. When we fold a piece of paper, a crease is formed. The crease so obtained represents a line. When we unfold it, on that crease we can get a line segment of desired length. To get the mid point of the line segment students may perform the steps given on the facing page.
The author is a P.G.T. in Mathematics and teaches at the Kulachi Hansraj Model School, New Delhi. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.