Paper Folding as a Mathematical Culture

Activiteit: Talk or presentation at a conference


Fold a sheet of paper flat onto itself and open it up again. The crease in the paper is a straight line. Fold the paper again such that the crease is folded onto itself, then open the paper up again. The new crease forms a line perpendicular to the first. By folding paper we can construct lines in a controlled fashion, and this allows for a geometry by paper-folding. This geometry is surprisingly strong: it can double the cube and trisect angles.

Paper as a material tool plus the activity of folding enables a mathematical culture which has attracted the attention of thinkers about mathematics education, recreational and research mathematics. In this talk, I will argue that geometry by paper-folding is a material reasoning practice, controlled by the physical realities of paper-like material. This allows for easy participation in the practice because, as Sundara Row has put it, it is ‘not necessary to take any statement on trust’; one can always fold and convince one-self with little theoretical baggage.
Periode5 dec 20177 dec 2017
Gehouden opEnabling Mathematical Cultures, United Kingdom
Mate van erkenningInternational