Common Sense Review
Updated April 2013

How to Make Origami

Colorful, mostly clear, classic origami fun
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • Main menu with first five projects showing finished product and number of steps.
  • Opening page for Christmas Tree project repeats main page information as do all.
  • Step 2 first shows folds to make are shown with darkened lines and text description given below.
  • Step 2 then dynamically "folds" the paper as shown by the lines.
  • Step 8 again shows fold to be made with a darkened line.
A nice variety of projects and the ability to see folding dynamically give the app a boost.
"Unfold" lines and background info about origami are missing.
Bottom Line
How to Make Origami provides students with a dynamic way to learn paper folding.
Leslie Crenna
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Bright colors, fun projects, and simple design all combine for an engaging app. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Folding dynamics add quite a bit to traditional instructions, but omission of "unfold" lines is a problem. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 2

There's no introduction, and it would be nice to see a bit about the history or general principles of origami.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Students could complete projects individually in free time (be sure to keep a variety of paper on hand), or classes could work on projects together simultaneously with an overhead projector. Since most of the action is outside of the app itself and finished products are not saved, user profiles are not necessary. It's a good idea to try out each project before presenting it to students -- you may be surprised at the level of difficulty of some of the pieces. The app doesn't give much info about the history or general principles of origami, so you may want to research this info and present it to students; older students could do their own research.

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What's It Like?

How to Make Origami is well-designed, easy to follow, and colorful, but some projects will be challenging for beginners. The main menu shows 24 projects by name with number of steps. Kids can tap the forward, back, or replay buttons at any time. Like real origami paper, the back side of the paper is white to clarify sides. Most projects have 14 to 20 steps. The Get More Origami button on the main page redirects to with more how-to projects in addition to origami.

Projects are not ordered by level of difficulty, and the number of steps does not guarantee an easy project: Even the Penguin with 11 steps has complicated instructions to fold, then unfold, then fold a different direction on the fold line. The one drawback is the lack of crease or "unfold" lines, which will pose difficulties. Though challenging, the Lily with 33 steps is possible for grade 8 students but not likely for grades 3 and 4.



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Is It Good For Learning?

While origami is not a traditional element of math curricula, it is a highly accessible way for kids to explore real-world applications of math concepts that are artful as well as logical. Each step is described with words (some more important than others) and a dynamic demonstration of the folds required -- a big improvement over the classic diagrams that use arrows to show folds.

Kids will get practice partitioning shapes into parts with equal areas, and recognizing lines of symmetry for two-dimensional figures. Older kids will get opportunities to verify experimentally the properties of rotations, reflections, and translations, and to understand that a two-dimensional figure is congruent to another if the second can be obtained from the first by a sequence of rotations, reflections, and translations.


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Lesson Plans