Simple Pop-Up Mechanisms

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In this activity, learners construct three quick and simple mechanisms to start building a pop-up book. Learners fold, cut, and glue paper to make a bird beak, parallelogram, and V-fold. This resource includes books and online references with more complicated pop-up mechanisms.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Cardstock or other heavy paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Pen with no ink or other scoring object (optional)
  • Colored paper (optional)
  • Writing tools and materials for decorations (optional)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
      • Plane Geometry
    • Measurement
    • Representation
  • The Nature of Technology
    • The Design Process
      • Invention and Innovation
      • Troubleshooting and Maintenance

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Literature


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Links STEM to other topics of interest such as arts and humanities
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Yu, Julie


  • All rights reserved, Exploratorium, 2009

Funding Sources:

  • National Science Foundation, 0610238
  • National Science Foundation, 0925383