Thursday, October 2, 2014

Icosahedral flower

Last month I taught a modular origami class!  Sorry, no photos of that.  I have moral misgivings about posting photos of 7-year-olds without parents' permission.  So you get an unrelated photo.

Icosahedral Flower, an original model, based on something from Tomoko Fuse.  I don't have much to say about this one.  It consists of a "belt" of five triangles, capped on both ends.  The cap on one end is a giant flower.  There are three distinct types of units, so you can forget about teaching this one to children.

So, teaching children, eh?  More like, the children were teaching me.

I've done enough modular origami that I have trouble accurately estimating the difficulty of putting these things together.  It's not just that I think everything is easier than it really is, it's that I had a mistaken view of the relative difficulty of the various steps.  I had imagined the hardest part as folding the individual units, since that's what takes up the most space in an origami book, and it's what I have to learn anew for each model.  But beginners seem to have much more trouble putting the units together.

As a result, I may have picked some models that were more challenging than I had intended.  The units were very easy to fold, but the tabs and pockets weren't especially clear, so kids had trouble figuring out how to put them together.  Luckily, the kids, rather than getting frustrated, grew more and more engaged.  The entire time I was barraged by questions--many kids simultaneously asking for help on different steps of the process.

Next time I will be much better prepared.  For instance, I initially expected that some kids would be perfectionists and go too slowly, but the opposite was the case.  I have this idea to have the kids use pencils to mark where the folds will go.

Also, previously I thought it was important to pick models that could be of various sizes, so that kids with different skill levels could make either 12-unit or 30-unit versions.  I don't think that's necessary.  The important thing is to have units that have clear pockets and tabs.