Origami and Kinetic Energy- Stem Activity

STEM activities refer to any process that kids can do integrating concepts from science, technology, engineering and mathematics. STEM activities are great for helping kids bring scientific principles to life.

Today’s exploration into physics  was inspired by Sylvan Learning.  We fold paper to create potential energy and watch as it transforms into a kinetic  jump – all with origami.

Origami paper frogs that teach children kinetic energy.
Learn physics by doing origami!

Kinetic Energy – Physics Experiment For Kids

Sylvan Learning  has a new after school enrichment programs titled Sylvan EDGE.

 As part of that program kids do hands-on STEM projects after school.  Kids can build robots from Legos, learn how to apply software to real-life scenarios, they can explore coding and even create their own video games or animated stories.

Supplies You Will Need:

Materials:

  • Construction Paper
  • Scissors

You won’t need a lot to create these cute jumping frogs for this kinetic energy activity for kids.

You’ll need to a rectangle piece of paper that needs to be 8 inches wide and 4 inches across.

How To Make This Kinetic Energy Experiment

Step 1:

Fold your paper in half and then fold it in half again. These lines will be your guide for the rest of the craft.

You will then bring the sides to the center making a right angled triangle. You will then unfold it and repeat on the other side.

When it is unfolded you should see X’s on each half of the paper.

Green paper being folded by little hands in half, a triangle, the a diamond before it is opened up.
We start by making some basic folds.

Step 2:

Pinch the top and the bottom of your triangles and then you fold the paper in on itself.

Once you have done this to both sides you will be left with a triangle. You will take the flaps of the triangles you made and fold them up to the corner. Do the same on the other side.

Fold the green frog until you have a folded square
We’re going to continue folder until we end with a square.

Step 3:

Flip your paper over and then you will bring the sides of the square (that do not have the little squares) to line up in the center of your square. The fold will look kind of like a paper airplane. 

Turn your paper over and fold your flaps in the little squares out. These are going to be the legs of your frog!

Now, bend the non-pointy side up to make a crease. You will have to have this line for the next step.

On the airplane side, which is the non-pointy side, fold it up to the points. As you are doing that, two pockets will form. Put each side of the airplane, or the airplane flaps, into the pockets that formed.

Fold the square making more lines and open up the flaps.
We’re getting closer to finishing this kinetic energy craft! We’re going to be making more folds and transforming our squares into a more frog shape.

Step 4:

This is really when the science and STEM activity comes into play.

With every single fold you make you are making your frog thicker and thicker. When fold the thick parts over on itself, the paper wants to fix itself, that being flat.

With the different folds you did, you created a spring on the back of the frog. Once you push it down on your frog’s back you depress the spring where energy is then being stored.

Once you let go, BOING! Your from jumps into the air.

We're folding it a little more nearly finished with our STEM activity craft.
You can see our jumping frog is nearly finished!

Video: How To Make Jumping Frogs

Finished Jumping Frog Stem Activity

If you want to see the final stem activity then head over to the Sylvan website. Why?  We guest posted this STEM activity over there and would love for you to see it!