Friday, February 15, 2008

Origami From Space



I had some fun teaching origami again last week. This time it was to kindergartners which means the ages ranged from 4 at the youngest and 6 at the oldest. It is actually a pretty good age to begin learning origami techniques and folds, as well as talk about geometric shapes.

Given their ages, it isn’t likely that they are going to be able to do anything too complex and by keeping the models relatively simple, you can also quickly run around the room to make certain everyone stays up to the latest fold.

Also helping was the use of the newest kind of overhead projector, which actually takes a video of your images and projects them on the wall. This way, as long as you stay within the red dots that light the flat surface you choose to set the projector on, everyone can watch as you demonstrate the actual folds. By placing the folding instructions next to you, they can also see how the real project relates to the diagramed one.

The kids at Crescent Heights Elementary were incredibly well behaved and remained interested and engaged for two full hours. Whew.

Simple models that are fun and very doable for kids of that age include the candy dish (that you test by putting candy in it) ((they love that)), the paper balloon (also known as the waterbomb) or any simple sound producing toy model. I have one that is a favorite of mine, and if I can find the diagram online will link to it.

Also on the origami front, I was tipped to this interesting news.

Some University of Tokyo researchers have teamed up with members of the Japan Origami Airplane Association and are hoping to develop a paper aircraft capable of surviving the flight to the Earth once launched from the International Space Station.

Pink Tentacle writes about it and there is a BBC video on it from TechLifeBlogged.

If they come up with a design and materials that work for them, they may want to also talk to Bigelow Aerospace. Bigelow has been busy launching privately funded inflatable space stations up into space for a few years now. It may be more cost effective to go through the ISS.

“Bigelow Aerospace is dedicated to developing next-generation crewed space complexes to revolutionize space commerce and open up the final frontier to all of humanity. At Bigelow Aerospace, we're building the future today!”

Happy folding.

2 comments:

Pete said...

That was an interesting story. I liked the way they are looking to track the paper airplane when it lands. I'd love to be the one to find it. I am new to Origami and I continue to be amazed at how many different things you can create with paper.

Andrew Fry said...

I can't imagine they would just launch one. I would hope they would try different styles and composite papers.

Can you imagine seeing it coming in from WAY up high, then saying, where the heck did that come from.