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Origami Cat

Explore math while folding paper into different designs.



  • A pencil or crayon.
  • 1 piece of square-shaped paper. If you don’t have square paper, you can fold and cut a rectangular piece of paper to make a square. Take one corner and fold it diagonally to the straight edge. Then trim the strip of paper on the bottom. You can also use a ruler to measure equal lengths on all four sides of the square.

Step 1

Take the square paper and bring the BOTTOM CORNER to the TOP CORNER and fold so the EDGES touch. Ask: What shapes do you see? How are the squares and triangles different?

Step 2

Fold both BOTTOM CORNERS UP to make the cat’s ears.

Step 3

Fold the TOP CORNER DOWN to make a FLAT EDGE at the TOP. Ask: What shapes can you find?

Step 4

Flip it over to show the OPPOSITE side and finish your cat by drawing the eyes, nose, and whiskers! Ask: Are the LEFT and RIGHT SIDES of your cat the same or different? What about the TOP and BOTTOM?

Tips for Having Math Conversations

Doing origami helps children learn about math words that have to do with space and place (for example, top, edge, vertical, and center) and offers opportunities to notice and talk about shapes and symmetry.


  • Find shapes as you fold the paper.
  • Talk about the features that define shapes, such as how many sides they have.
  • Talk about how shapes are the same and different.


  • Discuss how folding sometimes creates two shapes that are the same, but other times creates two shapes that are different. For example, on a triangle, a vertical fold makes the left and right sides the same (symmetrical). However, a horizontal fold makes the top and bottom different (not symmetrical).

Activity Modifications

Once you have tried out the activity, here are some modifications you can do:

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