Aratiatia Electives - Origami

Every Friday from midday until 1 p.m., students in Aratiatia are given choice around their learning. Many students head off to perfect their movements and songs in kapa haka - this requires a lot of practice and perseverance.

We are very proud of our team representatives at kapa haka. The rest of the students choose an elective. There have been many options throughout the term, such as sports, outdoor team-building games, art and digital learning. Another option has been origami.

Mrs Graham has been teaching origami for a number of weeks and it has been great to watch students’ skills develop. Some students are becoming experts so when new students join, these students act as teaching assistants. They even come up with their own things to make and share.




Origami allows students to develop many skills. The number one ‘golden rule’ Mrs Graham uses is ‘listen’. Initially, we all want to jump in and try it straight away but we have to listen and take it slowly. Rule number two is ‘watch’ - if you are not sure, watch again. Watching also relates to your buddies. If you are watching them struggle, you step in and help. We can all help each other to succeed. The third rule is ‘keep it perfect’. We are not allowed to rush and think, “That will do.” Mrs Graham pushes us to get the corners just right because that is what Japanese people expect in origami. We have to have high expectations of ourselves and others. We cannot say, “I can’t do it.” We don’t let anyone fail.



Origami is STEM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). It is about design and technological modelling, by making items fit for a purpose such as creating a small container. It includes maths language - talking about corners and edges and folding into halves and quarters. It is artistic - being creative is a big part of origami. Many students wanted to develop their origami further, some making a habitat for an animal or decorate their design. Others turned their whales into penguins, as seen in our video.



Origami allows students to work on all the Key Competencies in the NZ curriculum:

  • Thinking - Students must think about each step and reflect constantly on their progress.

  • Using language, symbols, and texts - We must read the instructions carefully, look at the pictures for tips, and see if we are getting it right.

  • Managing self & Relating to others - Students feel frustration with origami and that is okay. We help those who need it and they, in turn, help us during our struggles.

  • Participating and contributing - As a team, we make sure everyone has success. We celebrate overcoming small problems.


Keanu: I made a shuriken. It is a ninja star. It’s hard. I showed other people how to make it.


Tyler: This is a whale. No, it’s not, it’s actually a penguin.



Eden: My finger puppets are watching the rabbit in its habitat.


Bella: I’m going to make tiny houses for my shopkins.


Keywords: Electives, Origami, Japanese culture 

2019 Aratiatia Origami 13