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Frogs and Math

Updated on November 19, 2013

Plain old math

Math skills are essential for living in today's world. Math is used in several occupations from nursing to construction. Math is required for balancing a checkbook or measuring for new curtains. You may be able to get by with only a minimal understanding for math, but why chance it? It's much easier to balance your own checkbook than it is to have to pay someone else to do it, or even worse - pay the overdraft fee when you neglected to see a negative balance coming! Even a crime scene investigator will use math to help discover what happened.

Yet, our children are struggling with math; even adults are barely meeting a 7th grade math level in the US according to a USA Today article. (online at http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/25/math-skills-predicted-early/2018461/)

A classroom lesson or rainy day activity

Math and Science are necessary courses for today's students. Sometimes, we get so concerned about mathematical concepts that we forget to make math fun! This activity using a frog made by origami and creating an Olympic environment for the frog can bring hours of mathematical fun to the classroom. Even parents can help boost mathematical skills by hosting a family-frog olympics party. It may just be the thing to do on that boring rainy day!

One way to make an origami frog:

Create your frog

This pattern demonstrated in the video above is probably the easiest frog to fold using origami methods. There are other ways to make frogs as well. Create as many different frogs as you can to make the event more interesting! Discuss the ways the frogs are different. Experiment with different sized paper to make your frog and note the results of how they work. Do two frogs ever jump the same? What could make the frog jump higher? What could make the frog jump further? Play with your frogs until you understand what they are best at doing.

There are other ways to create a frog with the process of origami. Check these links to add more variation to the frogs you plan to compete with:

Plan the Olympics

The next step is to plan for the events you will hold for your own Olympic Party. The obvious choices would be the different dashes, like a 5-foot run or a 5-meter dash (whichever standard of measurement you want to teach). A second could be the high jump. Be creative on setting up your events; how about a Lilly Pad jump or a baking sheet skiing event? Let the children come up with the different events and how to set them up. That will provide countless hours of entertainment along with using math skills of measuring or geometry; plus, they're just fun to watch and play with!

Let the fun begin!

Be creative and have fun! That's the important thing to remember. Help your child measure the distance the frog's jumped, but focus on the laughing more. Teach your child how to run the stopwatch or timer for the competition, but encourage questions even more. Ask questions on how they can change their frog do make it faster or jump higher, but listen to them as well. Encourage them to come up with other events they can possibly hold later or other origami patterns that can get involved in the next Olympics. And finally, reflect on the run. What could you do differently next time? What worked well this time? What didn't work well this time? Encouraging questions like this even after the event is over is an important aspect to get your child to think further into any area. Exploration is a wonderful skill to develop!

Ways to Learn through Frog Olympics

Here are a few ideas to get you started on ways to make this fun activity educational:

 
Possible considerations for learning
Math
measurement, adding, time, Standard measurement, Metric system, fractions
Logic
Why does this one jump higher? (further, faster, etc.) What can you do? What can you change? Is this the only way?
Geometry
square, triangle, area
Creativity
Encourage imagination! Spark creativity.

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