Foldable Ideas For Teaching

Students use foldables for note-taking, projects and assessments.

Foldables are interactive, three-dimensional study organizers. Foldables are an easy way for students to generate charts, lists or graphs as an organizer for school work, as a note-taking activity or as a student-generated project. Since the students create the organizer, it gives them a sense of ownership, aiding them in retaining the information. Students of all ages can use foldables in any subject to help organize the information they are learning.

Social Studies

Explaining transportation before and after the railroad works well on a two-tab foldable.

Use foldables in social studies to compare and contrast, show cause and effect, examine past and present or sequencing events. When there is data occurring in twos, use a two-tab book, take a sheet of paper that is folded in half both vertically and horizontally, which makes four folds. Unfold one of the folds, and cut-up the line indented from the fold, or the valley of the inside fold toward the top. This cut forms two large tabs.

The tabs can be used for writing on the outside and the inside. Some ideas that incorporate social studies learning objectives are Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt, life before and after railroads, cause and effect of the Cold War or supply and demand. Write the titles on the outside of the tab. On the inside of the tab, list the ideas that are associated with that particular title.


In primary grades, the students use a three-tab foldable to illustrate polygons.

Use a three-tab foldable, fold a sheet into six folds, unfold and cut the valley up to the top, making three folds into tabs. Use this foldable as a concept map. Understanding the three types of triangles works well with this foldable. On the outside tab label one tab scalene, another isosceles and the third equilateral. Draw a picture of each of the three types of triangles. On the inside of the tab, list the guidelines that make each triangle. Another idea for math is to place on the outside tabs the properties of equations: commutative, associative and distributive. Explain these properties on the inside of the tabs.

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Language Arts

In language arts, use a four-door book to organize data occurring in fours. Make a four-door book by folding the outer edges of the paper to meet at the midpoint forming a shutter fold. Fold the paper in half, crease well, open it up and cut along the creases. This forms four doors to put information on. Label the doors with plot, setting, theme and characters. Choose a story you have read to analyze these elements using the four-door book. Another idea that comes in four sections are the four types of sentences: declarative, interrogative, imperative and exclamatory. On the inside of the tab, write each type of sentence.


In science, there are many concepts that are organized into parts, which makes it easy to use foldables as graphic organizers. Plant cells and animal cells, physical reaction and chemical reaction or heat transfer cause and effect work well with a two-tab foldable. For a four-door book in science, the types of renewable energy, the elements of the circulatory system or different families on the table of elements are ideas to take on.