Paper Doll Math

I have recently blogged about Ada Lovelace and her paper doll which could be used as a history piece in a history of mathematics center that students can learn about mathematics and how math was developed back in the day.  Today, are some activities that you can use in your classroom that revolve around paper dolls and mathematics.

Patterns: Figures alternate, for example: right arm up, left arm up, right arm, left arm.

Reflections: Students love that every doll is a flipped copy of the one next to it.  Technically, that's called a reflection, one of three kinds of geometry transformation students study in elementary school, the other two being rotation and translation.

Powers of Two: Fold the paper twice, you get four figures.  Fold the paper three times, you get 8 figures.  Fold four times, you get 16 figures.  Every fold is a power of two of the figures.

Multiplying fractions: Every time you fold, the dolls become half as wide.  That's a visual illustration of what it means to multiply a fraction, in this case x 1/2.  Or, if the first fold divides the paper in half, and the second fold divides it in quarters.

Learn more here: Paper Doll Math

View other activities and information here:
Math Manipulatives
Geometry of Folding


  1. Nice examples. I just recently had a post about folding towels that deals with exponents too : )
    Kids Math Teacher