Molecular Origami : A Practical Approach to Engineering Education

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: School of Chemistry


There is great interest in engineering micro and nano scale devices for biomedical, industrial, environmental applications and, of course, a multitude of consumer products. A series of integrated resources would be developed for primary school children that highlight how controlling the structure of molecules can impact on their function and eventual application. It would emphasize the need for interaction between the core sciences (biology, chemistry and physics) and demonstrate how they contribute to (bio)molecular engineering. An activity based learning and appreciation process is proposed in which the intricacies of origami based modelling are directly related to examples from biological and supramolecular chemistry. The sense of achievement in completing each model and the challenge (or even competition) of attempting the next one will stimulate their interest in the activity and, offers an opportunity through which the underlying science can be introduced in a fun and engaging way. The activities are inexpensive and readily accessible to schools irrespective of scientific infrastructure. The possession of a prize (the models) that end up in the home offer a strong possibility of stimulating further interest and debate with the web based origami-science hybrid content allowing further exploration.


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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/F065663/1 27/10/2008 31/12/2008 £29,758
EP/F065663/2 Transfer EP/F065663/1 29/06/2009 28/10/2010 £26,604
Description A range of origami based resources were developed to highlight clean energy technologies
Exploitation Route Origami resources continue to be used
Sectors Other

Description Resources have been used in schools and in events highlighting clean energy technologies to the public
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Other
Impact Types Societal

Description Talk on batteries and fuel cells to Group of School Teachers 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Talk resulted in a number of questions and favourable feedback

After my talk, teachers reported that they would highlight some of the newer materials that were discussed to their classes
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015