Powerful Collaboration: Origami, USD Mathigami Project

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What is Mathigami?

Mathigami is a way of exploring mathematical concepts through the art of origami. The Mathigami Project is a pilot program created by University of San Diego (USD) in collaboration with a local community center. The program is focused on developing an interest in and love of mathematics. As part of Project Mathigami, college students explore mathematical concepts with children through the creation of origami models. We aspire to instill in young children the belief that they can succeed in mathematics and the disposition to approach challenges with curiosity and perseverance. We want them to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and to become adept at communicating their reasoning and understanding the reasoning of others. The power of mathematical thinking will be beneficial in any path they choose and will open up opportunities for them to pursue careers in STEM fields. In this pilot stage, USD students volunteer to mathematically engage over one hundred third through fifth graders in underserved communities. Project Mathigami activities foster opportunities for real-life mathematical experiences and help students recognize the myriad applications of both mathematics and origami.

Why Mathigami?

Common reactions to mathematics include fear, feelings of inadequacy, and aversion. In the United States, only 17 percent of 12th graders are both proficient in mathematics and have an interest in pursuing a career in the STEM fields--mathematics, science, engineering or technology.[1] And despite the high unemployment rate in America, there are almost 600,000 unfilled jobs because there aren’t enough workers with expertise in STEM.[2] Our goal is simple. We want people to SMILE when they hear the word "Mathematics"; to see mathematics as powerful and beautiful, and to approach mathematical challenges with confidence, leading to greater mathematical capability. Mathigami is our way to contribute to what needs to be a worldwide effort at all levels. We believe that approaching mathematics through the lens of origami will engage more children in mathematics, including some who may have been lost through the conventional methods.

Read the Inside USD article on Mathigami at USD or for more information go to www.mathigami.org.


Maria Cristina Manabat
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