STEM Activity: Hop to It!
Celebrate the art of paper folding by making origami frogs and then designing an obstacle course!
- Craft supplies (optional)
- Index cards
- Markers, crayons or colored pencils
- Recyclables (optional)
At-Home or In-School Instructions
- Follow along with this interactive video to create an origami jumping frog using index cards. Click the “next” button at the bottom right of the video to move through each step.
- Once you’ve created your frog, press down on the bottom edge to make it jump!
- Make additional frogs and experiment with different sizes and types of paper.
- Measure how far your different frogs jump. What is the farthest distance you were able to achieve?
- For even more fun, consider creating an obstacle course with small objects for your frog to jump over, around and through.
Want to take this activity even further? You can challenge participants to use their origami frogs in a carnival-style game. Encourage them to think about racing games, games of skill where the frogs need to reach a target and more. Then, ask them to write out the rules of the game, determine the cost to play and even create unique prizes.
What are we discovering?
Origami is the art of folding paper, and while the end result can be a fun, interactive toy such as a jumping frog, this art has many more benefits. Making small, deliberate folds requires precision, which helps children develop their fine motor skills as well as their ability to focus. Origami also involves many mathematical principles, such as creating a 3D object from a flat piece of paper and exploring fractions and angles.
Leroy Grumman, a National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductee, developed retractable landing gear and a foldable wing for naval aircraft. Both inventions utilize the math behind folding to advance the design and usability of aircraft. Another NIHF Inductee and engineer, Richard Hoe, developed the mechanisms to mass print and fold newspapers, which led to the modern-day printing press. While origami is a fun exercise, it can also serve as inspiration in the invention process and could be the catalyst for a world-changing invention idea!
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