Pre-class information about Laura's Origami Math 103 classes
Is this the class for me?
Every faculty member in the math department teaches Math 103 differently, covering different
topics and using different materials. The Math 103 class that you are currently enrolled
for will be focused on the Mathematics of Origami. You may or may not be interested in this
topic. That is one reason why I am sending you this email - if you do not think this is the
class for you, please consider switching now to one of the other many sections of Math 103
that are being offered this spring.
You will probably like this class if:
- you like exploring interesting mathematical problems
- you like hands-on discovery learning
- you want to see what it is like to be a mathematician
- you are willing to attend class very regularly
- you are willing to work in groups on various projects
- you like origami
You will probably NOT like this class if:
- you want an easy class that you can just breeze through
- you want to cover material you are already familiar with
- you would prefer a typical lecture-style class
- you are not planning to attend class regularly
- you will have trouble being a dependable group contributor
- you hate folding paper
Believe it or not, there is a lot of mathematics that can be investigated through origami.
For example, check out the following two introductory links on the subject:
Some of the mathematics related to origami is very sophisticated. For example - although
this is NOT what we will be doing in class - check out the following abstract of a
high-level mumbo-jumbo math research article:
First day of class
I will be at a math conference in New Orleans on the first day of the spring semester, and
therefore my sections of Math 103 will have no class on Monday, January 8. Instead, the
first class meeting day will be Wednesday, January 10. To make up for this missed class,
you will do an assignment that will be collected on our first meeting day (see the end of
There are two required materials for this class, both of which will be available at the JMU
bookstore. The first is a small brown book with the title "Nature of Mathematics" and "Math
103" written on the front, which contains excerpts from a larger book by Scheinerman. This
brown book was also used in my Math 103 classes this past semester, so you may be able to
find a used copy.
The second required material is a very specific pack of origami paper:
Washi Chiogami, size 3x3 inches, 360 sheets, 30 assorted patterns
If you want to order the paper yourself online you can do so, but be VERY sure that you have
EXACTLY the paper described above - same size, everything. Here are two websites where the
product is available:
The pack of paper described above has enough sheets in it that two students could share one
pack of paper for the course if they were so inclined.
Wherever you get your materials, be very sure that you will have them on the first day of
class (see assignment below).
Assignment due on the first day of class
At the beginning of the first class meeting on Wednesday, January 10, the following two
assignments are due and will be worth points:
1. You must prove that you have both the little brown book and the pack of origami paper
(by bringing both items to class).
2. You must make one origami object and bring it to class. Any type of origami object will
do - it does not have to be super fancy or difficult. For this object you may use ANY type
of paper. For example, regular notebook paper cut to the size/shape you need would be just
fine here. On the other hand, you could also use your fancy new origami paper if you like!
There are many websites where you can find basic origami patterns and instructions; it is up
to you to Google around and find a beginners-level origami object to make for the first day
of class. I will be collecting these objects, so please write your name somewhere visible
on the object.