Lincoln Interactive Engaging Students in STEM through Origami

Jun 08, 2011, 10:52 ET from National Network of Digital Schools

MIDLAND, Pa., June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In the surprisingly large and active global origami community, folders explore geometric shapes from basic to complex, whether they know it or not.  Origami is increasingly becoming a tool for educators to demonstrate geometric principles in ways that make sense to students.

Origami is also valuable in helping students understand various aspects of technology. Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz, a 15-year-old student at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, does more than just learn about the technical applications of origami; she has developed a hands-on middle school course on the topic, which was released on June 1st through Lincoln Interactive.

The course, entitled Investigation: Paper Engineering, discusses a variety of practical scientific and engineering applications for folding that are being employed today through RNA unfolding and heart stents, solar sails, and telescopes. The course also offers students the opportunity to fold a variety of origami models that begin with the basics and increase in complexity to allow students to develop skill over time.

Calista's program, called "Origami Salami," was inspired by the innovative folding work being done by her mentor Brad Hansen-Smith, and other world famous scientists and mathematicians Drs. Erik Demaine (MIT), Robert Lang (CalTech), and Adrien Treuille (CMU). The program was originally developed as her 2010-11 Young Ambassador project for the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, which recognizes profoundly intelligent young people. Her mission is to inspire learners to think outside the book about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects by studying folding. The development of Investigation: Paper Engineering contributes to that mission.

Calista actively operates a website about folding science and a community Facebook page; she is an invited expert contributor in the blogosphere on STEMplanet. One component of her website, Origami Salami, is a community service program called Folding for Good, through which Calista has developed a dozen community programs featuring folding as a tool for studying STEM and personal entertainment.

Investigation: Paper Engineering considers challenging spatial concepts in an exciting interactive, digital environment. Tutorial videos feature hands on experimentation that offer a high level of engagement for students taking the course. The course comes with a box of papers and tools and is packed with information, activities, and links that set each students mind imagining.

"It all started with a gift of an origami kit about eight years ago," said Calista. "Folding is addictive. Origami is a way for learners to discover the STEM possibilities that lie hidden within this ancient art and entertaining hobby. It empowers learners to think deeply, unleash imagination, and become more motivated to take up the rigorous training needed to become innovators and scholars themselves. Folding science is everywhere—from flapping cranes to human brains. You never know where your hobby will lead you!"

About NNDS and Lincoln Interactive: The National Network of Digital Schools is a 501(c)3 non-profit management foundation, dedicated to providing the highest quality K-12 online curriculum and comprehensive management services to traditional brick and mortar schools, charter schools and cyber schools focused on expanding educational opportunities for students. As a community foundation, NNDS also lends financial support to educational initiatives that expand opportunities for young people. NNDS empowers its partners to expand curriculum options by offering accelerated courses, alternative education and credit recovery courses – as well as developing more effective educational programs for special education students. NNDS' Lincoln Interactive is the premier choice for students who learn best from the safety of their own home. Online at and

To learn more about Calista's work, visit

Contact: Toni Cicone Craig, 724.544.3744

SOURCE National Network of Digital Schools