According to Unfolding Mathematics with Unit Origami:
“Unit or modular origami is a specialized type of paper folding that breaks with tradition by allowing the folder to use more than one square of paper to for geometric objects. “
What I like best about unit origami as a math teacher is that you can show your students how to fold a single origami pattern and use this as a basis for teaching a broad variety of 2D and 3D shapes, including all five of the platonic solids. Additionally, there are lots of different units that can be folded and assembled to make myriad models.
When teaching basic Euclidean geometry, it is important to note that each fold of a piece of paper–a plane, can be used to highlight a geometric concept. For example, if a module requires students to fold their paper in half, teachers can ask questions such as: “what is the relationship between the areas of the two shapes you just created?” or more simply: “what is the relationship between the two shapes you just created? what are these shapes called?” As students continue to fold, there will be more and more geometric objects and relationships for them to observe and describe, including:
- angle bisectors
- parallel and perpendicular lines
- isosceles and right triangles
- supplementary and complementary angles
Check out the book link above or simply do a Google search for “modular origami” to get started!