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# Tangrams

Tangram Information

A tangram is an ancient Chinese puzzle consisting of a square cut into five triangles, a square and a parallelogram which can be reassembled into an amazing number of different figures. Each shape in a tangram is called a tan and must be used to solve the puzzle. The tangram shapes must lay flat and not overlap any of the other pieces in the puzzle.

**Adding to Classroom Practice
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The use of a manipulative such as a tangram creates an extra educational opportunity for all students. This extra dimension facilitates the achievement of more positive educational outcomes for all students as ‘ah ha’ moments can turn negative feelings into positives. Students are able to enjoy mathematics because of its challenging ‘puzzling’ nature. Co-operative skills are also developed as students are able to brainstorm possible solutions with a partner or within a small group and also have productive discussions with an educator. The use of teamwork and verbal sharing adds another dimension to mathematical experience. Tangrams are a valuable tool for students to explore spatial concepts. Learning experiences can be followed by individual reflection or whole class reflection. The combination of practical experience, discussion, questioning and reflection is as asset to all mathematical classrooms.

**Tangrams & Problem Solving
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A manipulative is any object that aids in students visualising mathematical processes. They are invaluable in the classroom because students retain information gained from hands-on-experiences better that information they gain from memorisation. Learning with their hands as well as their minds enhances the learning experience as students explore an abstract concept using a concrete element. Tangrams excite natural curiosity and motivate students to take responsibility for their own learning. Students will become flexible thinkers with a knowledge of mathematics that can be applied to a wide variety of situations and learn to become problem solvers.

Trish Boschetti – Cluster Coordinator Phase 1 – Maths for Learning Inclusion

Find all of the axes of symmetry in different shapes. Make a Square Use the 7 tans to make a square. Consider placing magnetic strips on the back of pieces or purchasing magnetic tangrams so students can use them on small and large whiteboards. Numbers and Letters Create all of the alphabet letters and the numerals 0-9.Tangrams Introducing the Tangram Allow students time to explore and familiarise themselves with the tangram pieces Congruent and Similar Shapes Challenge students to use some of their shapes to create a shape congruent to their parallelogram. If the small triangle is a ‘unit’ then how many units are in the square. Have students create their initials with tangram shapes and display. slide. Ask students to describe how they move the shapes. Find the fraction of the square that each piece takes up. Square Look at the square which is a regular quadrilateral. Language Explore mathematical terms such as flip. Symmetry Have students create some simple pictures and label them with a dotted line to represent the axis of symmetry. medium right angle. Give students a photocopy of various tangram pictures. parallelogram. Trish Boschetti – Cluster Coordinator Phase 1 – Maths for Learning Inclusion . Does it have lines of symmetry? Fractions Assemble the pieces to make a square. Triangle What type of triangle is it? Are the triangles all the same size? Area Order the pieces from smallest to largest. How many lines of symmetry does it have? Are the opposite sides parallel? How many degrees in all four angles? Are the diagonals equal and bisecting each other at right angles? Angles Estimate and measure the angles in the various tangram shapes. Convert the fraction into a decimal and/or a percentage. square. As they create each picture have them record on the sheet. small right angles. turn. Toolkits Once a tangram is made it can be stored in a sandwich bag inside individual toolkits. a parallelogram. Trace an outline of them on a poster or photograph your own alphabet and number chart. Which part of the square is made up of: Large right triangles. the medium triangle and the large triangle? Parallelogram Define parallelogram.

Daily Tangrams Students can solve a tangram each day of the week and record the results in their maths book or a maths journal. Posters Have students create posters on some particular theme eg zoo. When the pieces are removed the resulting tangram outlines will be displayed. Give students a photocopy of various tangram pictures. Reduce and Enlarge Classroom Quilt Create a classroom quilt of all the tangrams produced. Check your library for tangram picture books. animals. Interactives There are loads of interactive tangram sites. This can also be a timed exercise with students trying to beat previous scores. theatre. Start your lessons off with a competition to see who can create the tangram of the day first. Have students carefully hold each piece in place and use crayon to colour across the edges onto the paper. circus. Trish Boschetti – Cluster Coordinator Phase 1 – Maths for Learning Inclusion . Power Points Students can create their own tangram using Microsoft Power Point. As they create each picture have them record on the sheet. Tangram Challenge Individual students can create tangram puzzles to be solved by the class. What can be created? 4 Stories Illustrate a story using tangram pictures. sport. Crayon Art Create a piece of artwork that records the shapes of tangram creations. Checkerboard Make your tangram into a 4 x checkerboard. Classroom Book Create a classroom book of tangram puzzles and keep adding to it. Use grids to enlarge and reduce the size of the pieces. Great for using on the interactive whiteboard or for having students explore on the computer individually.

Solutions Give each student a copy of the 50 shapes they can create. Brainstorm What other ideas can you come up with? Beat the clock Set the timer and see how many shapes you can make in a certain amount of time. Icebreaker If you are running your own professional development session the puzzle could be used as a starting activity. Home Links Why not send a set home for the family to explore. Staff Challenge Individual Sets Cut around each piece and laminate. puzzle.q. Individuals or groups could work on the challenge. Toolkits The i. Findings could be recorded in a home maths learning journal. Give each student their own i. This could be used as a staff meeting exercise. puzzle makes a great addition to a toolkit. Early Finishers Solutions could be found when students have completed other tasks. Have students complete a checklist as they solve puzzle outlines. Internet Search Have students search the internet for similar puzzles. Time Challenges How many of the challenges can you solve in a set time. Can you beat the previous score? Trish Boschetti – Cluster Coordinator Phase 1 – Maths for Learning Inclusion .IQ Puzzle Jeopardy This is a great problem solving activity to keep students engaged during other activities such as a class jeopardy quiz.q.

IQ Challenge Puzzles Trish Boschetti – Cluster Coordinator Phase 1 – Maths for Learning Inclusion .

IQ Challenge Solutions Trish Boschetti – Cluster Coordinator Phase 1 – Maths for Learning Inclusion .

html Children develop thinking and reasoning skills through the use of the tangram.html Use the seven tans in the game to recreate the following tangrams: square. http://www.teachers.org/playhouse_puzzle.com/tangrams.org/mathtoolkit/instruction/lessons/4_tangrams.swf Use the seven pieces to make a variety of shapes. http://www. rabbit. phoenix.au/suel/maths/tangrams.htm Watch as the movie tells a story using tangrams.Interactive Tangram Websites http://www.uk/tan/tan.org. The tangram movie is very interesting.disted.camosun.inventionatplay.tygh. dinosaur.html An interactive tangram activity suitable for younger students. swan http://britton. http://www.apples4theteacher.bc. http://www.utdanacenter. cat. http://www.com/chinese-tangrams.co.apples4theteacher.ash.ca/tangram.php Lesson ideas to use with ‘Grandfather Tang’s Story’ Trish Boschetti – Cluster Coordinator Phase 1 – Maths for Learning Inclusion . duck.html Links to several tangram sites.