Folding the Circle for Information

The mistaken idea that the circle is only a drawing has prevented us from exploring the nature of the circle. A circle should be thought of as a compressed sphere that retains all of information from the original form. Paper circles provide a perfect opportunity to explore this form. Folding paper circles has proven to be a limitless source of valuable information by decompressing that information. Hundreds of years ago in Asia (and sporadically throughout Europe) paper circles were folded and explored, yet for some reason, square paper became the standard for origami and paperfolding.

Circlefolding has recently been explored extensively by sculptor Bradford Hansen-Smith in what he calls Wholemovement™. Hansen-Smith's work shows an amazing breadth of what can be formed, re-formed, and transformed with circles, using common paper plates. An extraordinary amount of educational information is inherent in the compressed sphere and is revealed through the systematic folding and joining of paper plates.

Folding circles as an information-generating process is His process expands our understanding about learning mathematics, making it experientially accessible at the primary grade level and up. The circle reveals patterned formations and transformations not possible with any other form of modeling or mathematical construction. In contrast to using the circle as a symbol for zero that stand for nothing, through folding the circle it shows itself to be Whole, everything demonstrating unity in ways nothing else but the circle can do.

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