Published: 20th January 2020
This teacher in Hyderabad is using origami to teach kids Maths. And it is awesome!
Ravi Kumar won the NCERT Innovations and Experimentation Award in 2002, KVS National Incentive Award in 2004, National Award for Best Teacher in 2005 and so on
It was in the year 1989 that T Ravi Kumar stumbled upon the book Classic Origami by master origami artist Paul Jackson in the iconic bookstore AA Husain and Co in Abids, Hyderabad. At that time, he was teaching at one of the Kendriya Vidyalayas (KV) in Hyderabad. "I opted to become a teacher because I wanted to pursue higher education. During my apprenticeship with Ashok Leyland, I realised that I hardly had any time for myself, so I took up a job at KV," says the teacher. And even at KV, he had to conduct a lot of activities as part of his Trained Graduate Teacher (TGT) Work Experience. But despite the extra work, he enjoyed working at KV and continues to do so even today.
Students trying a hand at origami | (Pic: T Ravi Kumar)
But what does the book on origami have to do with Ravi? Since 1995, this teacher has been going around the country, teaching origami — the Japanese art of folding paper to make patterns or objects — to other teachers, students and even non-KV aspirants. For students, he has taken more than 15 workshops so far and as a Resource Person for the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, he has conducted ten workshops. And his efforts haven't gone unnoticed. Recently, he won the Innovation and Experimentation Award 2019 from Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan for his paper on Spatial Learning Through Origami.
He also met famous origami artist Ravi Keskar from Mahim University, Mumbai who encouraged him to pursue origami
What this teacher in his 50s does so exponentially well is teach Math through origami. Imagine mugging up the Pythagoras theorem (like most of us probably did when we were in school) and compare it to understanding it through origami. Another good example is using 12 square pieces and assembling them into a polyhedron, a three-dimensional shape, which can prove Euler’s formula. "Aside from all this, origami also teaches patience, symmetry, discipline and so on," says the Hyderabad-based teacher.
T Ravi Kumar receiving the National Award for Teachers from APJ Abdul Kalam in 2005 | (Pic: T Ravi Kumar)
Among the many activities that the teacher has conducted in the past, he and his students — between the years of 1995 and 2003 — built 70 air coolers and supplied it to other KVs. They also manufacture their own phenyl because of which, their school doesn't purchase any from outside. He has also taught students the art of mug painting and they have painted about 900 mugs and more.
To learn more about origami, you can reach out to him on firstname.lastname@example.org