Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Decorating for Christmas using STEM: Snowflakes

Your youngster is making paper snowflakes. You can just fold, cut and unfold the paper. It's kind of fun. 

You can count the number of times you fold your paper.
If you fold it in half and then in half and then in half, you are actually folding 8 pieces of paper on the next fold.
When you make your cuts, how many pieces of paper are you cutting through? Check your answer with the pieces cut out.
Don't forget to count folded pieces as two!

When you're done cutting, open the snowflake. What shapes did you make? How did folding and cutting create those shapes? How many folds and cuts went into each shape to create it?

There are two basic folds that make really good snowflakes.
The square fold
how to fold a sheet of paper for snowflake
and the traditional "snowflake" fold


Can your youngster figure out why these two work so well?

THEN you can connect this to Social Studies. Did you know that China has an art form almost as intricate as Japan's origami?

It's called Jianzhi (剪纸). And some of them are pretty impressive:
Chinese paper cut - gold fishes 

So, are you "just making paper snowflakes" or are you decorating with STEM?