[Math] Fractions with origami

origami fraction

General Presentation

Jae wanted to fold an origami fan, so I weaved in a lesson on fractions while doing so:

  • Fold in halves (2 rectangles). Point and say, “This is one half. This is one half. Two halves make one whole.”
  • Fold again to make 4 squares. Point and say, “This is one-fourth.  This is one-fourth. This is one-fourth. This is one-fourth. Four one-fourths make one whole.”
  • Fold again to make 8 rectangles. Repeat lesson above in a similar way.
  • Fold again to make 16 rectangles. Repeat lesson above in a similar way.

As we have done fraction work with Learning Resources Fraction Pizza* before, I checked his understanding with the Montessori third period of lesson verbally to confirm his understanding. (For example, “This is …?”and  “1/4 = ___ 1/16s?”)

If a child just started learning fractions, you may use the second period of lesson. For example, compare two pieces of paper folded into halves and quarters and ask “Which paper is folded into halves?”

Anyway, we continued with Jae’s original intention and folded an origami fan. Just use the paper folded into 1/16s, and glue the centre where the ends meet.

origami fan


You may explore these variations:

  • Fold diagonally into triangles instead of rectangles
  • Let child draw lines along fold lines
  • Shade various number of parts to represent the same fraction and compare. For example, 2/4 of 4 squares is a combination of any 2 squares.

Age Range

  • About 5 years old onwards

Happy teaching fractions!

P.S. Check out our workshops & learning materials here

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