Monday, February 24, 2014

Teaching Children How to "Fish" for Themselves

I've gone to Westland School to teach origami for a number of years now; first got the gig through one of my gymnasts.

Traffic was amazingly kind on the 405.  2 hour presentation/demo/workshop. 

 I made 23 Montroll horses for 23 9 yr olds.  Also spinning tops, Joe giveaways including newspaper caps, and polypopagon.

After a bit of presentation, I gave out the horses.  I brought out the "Instant Origami" bag.  My skit went amazingly well- especially considering I only rehearsed it in my head; and hadn't ever even tested out the bag trick.  It worked beautifully.

What I did was empty the brown paper bag of its contents:  3 colored paper and instructions.  I handed the instructions to one of the students and acted out what she read off from the list I typed out this morning (last minute prep):

1.    Add Paper
2.   Do not add water
3.   Close the top of the bag
4.   Shake it up.
5.   Blow air through the top
6.   Hold bag tight and clap hands together
7.   Open bag.  Ready to serve

When I  burst the bag, I pulled out 2 flapping cranes (a third had flown out of the bag when it popped).  Delighted reaction- plus the bonus of making the wings flap.  I then talked about how it might be fun to receive "instant origami" and be given stuff that I made; but once I'm gone, who will give them origami.  I brought up the maxim about "If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach him how to fish, you've fed him for life".  I asked what that phrase meant; then talked to them about the value of teaching them how to do origami themselves and interpret diagrams; and that half the fun is in the process of folding.

Models I taught were:
Jeremy Shafer's Loud Mouth
a helicopter/propeller.

Those two were from leftover strips of an 8 1/2 x 11 cut into a square.  The former from cardstock, the latter from astrobright.  It segwayed into my talking about different paper for different models.

We then did a banger (and I pulled out a giant banger to illustrate how sometimes size does matter).
Oppenheimer's container was on my list of teaching models; but the kids had already done it during their course of Japanese culture month.

The flapping crane was the final project.  In previous years, I also taught my cicada glider and then we'd go fly them outside.

All in all, very successful fun!

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