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A Mindful Cube

Sati Pasala Sydney

(From Mindful Activities and Games Volume 2 MG023)

At the Sati Pasala Sydney June session, the children enjoyed making a paper cube. They used the technique called Origami, which is folding square pieces of paper in a predefined sequence in order to create a particular shape. In this game, six separate pieces of paper are folded individually into an identical shape and then combined together to form a single cube.  Four groups were formed with six children in each group. Each group was given six pieces of coloured paper and an instruction sheet. A video was also played with the folding instructions. Each group also had adult facilitators.

Almost immediately it became clear that folding paper was not as easy as it seemed even for the older children and specially for the adult facilitators!

The relationship between the age of a participant and Origami skill quickly became apparent; lower the age, higher the Origami skill! This clearly showed that following a set of simple instructions, using minimum thinking processes and carrying out a basic task was getting harder with age! Soon, the youngest participants were helping the others in the folding and the assembly of the cubes.

Of course, there were children who had previously created many shapes using Origami techniques by themselves, but the unique experience here was that it was a team effort to get the final product. Unless each of the children creating the separate six sides did the folding properly in accordance with the instructions, when the six sides were assembled together, it would not form a uniform cube, but rather a new geometric shape!

Some feedback and observations from the children after the game are as follows:

  • “Even though it looked very easy at first, the folding steps were not easy.”
  • “If you didn’t follow the instructions carefully, mindfully, you would end up with something totally different.”
  • “I have done origami before, but this one proved harder than it looks.”
  • “Since we were assembling pieces folded by different people it was clear that if everyone didn’t follow the instructions properly, it would not form the final cube properly.”
  • “Our cube is lopsided because all the pieces are not the same size.”
  • “I think smaller kids are better at this than older kids.”
  • “The cube was light and hollow.”
  • “The cube had rough edges and smooth edges.”
  • “It is amazing how everyone starting from the same piece of paper and following the same instructions could end up with so many different shapes!”

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