Questions for ‘Cool Jobs: The art of paper folding is inspiring science’

Robert Lang folded this 2011 sculpture — Poison Dart Frog HP, Opus 598 —from a single sheet of paper. Artists have worked with this type of paper-folding, known as origami, for centuries. Recently, some scientists have found use for this technique in their research.

Artist Robert J. Lang

To accompany feature “Cool Jobs: The art of paper folding is inspiring science”


Before Reading:

1.  Have you ever folded paper into an object? What did you make? (Grab a piece of paper and fold it into that object — or a new one.)

2.  What is origami? Where did it originate?

During Reading

1.  What is CRAM and what is it designed to do?

2.  What is the difference between origami and kirigami?

3.  What does it mean that origami-inspired scientific innovations “pack a triple punch”?

4.  How does geometry fit into how Robert Lang designs new origami projects?

5.  What are polygons?

6.  What is algebra?

7.  What happened to Brandi Shaw in seventh grade? How did she respond to that big event?

8.  What happens when Shaw’s inventions are exposed to different wavelengths of light?

9.  Why does Gulden Camci-Unal grow bone cells on origami-folded paper?

10.  What does STEAM stand for?

After Reading:

1.  There are simpler ways to create a three-dimensional sculpture of a frog or other object than the complicated math and origami that Robert Lang uses. Why doesn’t he use those simpler ways? How would you go about creating a three-dimensional sculpture of a frog?

2.  Have you thought about what type of career you want when you become an adult? What type of classes will help you get there? What do you need to learn? (If you don’t know, ask your teacher or another adult for advice.)


1.  The story explains how to solve a simple equation in algebra. Try solving these on your own:

            x + 2 = 5

            9 – x = 4

            x – 5 = 2

            4 + x = 8