Saturday, April 08, 2017

folding the circle...

Round paper plates folded by Bradford Hansen-Smith
Scott Bultman sent me a couple books and a DVD about folding a circle by Bradford Hansen-Smith. Hansen-Smith uses common paper plates to create incredible artistic and mathematical models grown in astounding complexity.

If you were to study mathematics in school, you would wrongly assume it is about numbers and miss the wonders of it all that become apparent when the hands are engaged in doing real things having to do with proportion and scale.

There is a well-documented link between math skills and what is called spatial sense, described by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) as “an intuitive feel for one’s surroundings and objects in them.” According to the NCTM’s Principles and Standards for School Mathematics:

"Geometry and spatial sense are fundamental components of mathematics education. They offer ways to interpret and reflect on our physical environment through abstraction. They support creative thought in all mathematics."
According to the Standards,
“spatial visualization includes building and manipulating mental representations of shapes, relationships, and transformations.”
The Paradise of Childhood describing the gifts and occupations of Kindergarten showed the use of circles of paper folded as an exercise in the development of mind, and just as Froebel was interested in the development of the whole child and his or her relationship to the whole of nature and the whole of humanity, the study of circles and how you can fold them can lead you in a more creative direction.

I think you will find folding the circle to be profound. As Hansen-Smith describes,
Everyone brings to the circle their own experience, observations, making connections from which to explore and discover, even 5 and 6 year olds. Anyone that an fold a circle in half is capable of doing this. The value of folding circles is in the individual experience and the connections one makes to math, art and in all other things we do and think about.
Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others learn likewise.

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