- Dec 2023
How to fold and cut a Christmas star<br /> Christian Lawson-Perfect https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S90WPkgxvas
What a great simple example with some interesting complexity.
For teachers trying this with students, when one is done making some five pointed stars, the next questions a curious mathematician might ask are: how might I generalize this new knowledge to make a 6 pointed star? A 7 pointed star? a 1,729 pointed star? Is there a maximum number of points possible? Is there a minimum? Can any star be made without a cut? What happens if we make more than one cut? Are there certain numbers for which a star can't be made? Is there a relationship between the number of folds made and the number of points? What does all this have to do with our basic definition of what a paper star might look like? What other questions might we ask to extend this little idea of cutting paper stars?
Recalling some results from my third grade origami days, based on the thickness of most standard office paper, a typical sheet of paper can only be folded in half at most 7 times. This number can go up a bit if the thickness of the paper is reduced, but having a maximum number of potential folds suggests there is an upper bound for how many points a star might have using this method of construction.