Tangram Activity

Teacher Lesson Plan

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This activity is aligned to NCTM Standards - Grades 6-8: Geometry, Measurement, Problem Solving, Reasoning and Proof, and Communication and to California Mathematics Standards Grade 7: Measurement and Geometry #3.4 and Mathematical Reasoning #1.1, 1.2, 2.2, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 3.2.

Glencoe's Interactive Mathematics text provides an activity (Units 7-12, p. 9-14) with five stations. Also on page 238 in the Data Bank there is A Story of the Tangram which can be read in class or assigned as homework.

Introducing the Activity

    Using tangrams:

Each group of 4 students is given 4 sets of tangrams. Provide some time for them to manipulate the shapes. Use the shapes to introduce or review the following vocabulary. The links from each of the vocabulary words are to informational pages at the Math Forum.
  1. polygon
  2. angle
  3. vertex
  4. triangle
  5. parallelogram
  6. quadrilateral
  7. square
  8. trapezoid
  9. congruent polygons
  10. congruent sides
  11. congruent angles

Tangram Menu Stations

Students work in groups at the five different menu stations. As they work they each record the answers to the specific questions after discussing them. They write the summary statement required at the conclusion of each station.
Technology Extension
Tangram a java applet by Jos van Uden.
  (Hint: On a Mac hold the command key to rotate.)

Tangram Digital 1 player || Tangram Digital 2 players
  The directions are in German but you can still interact. Just use your mouse to click on the corner of any tangram piece and drag to rotate it. To reflect the piece click in the center of it with the mouse. Click and drag from the middle to place the piece in the correct position on the puzzle.

Tangram (Macintosh software) by S.T. Han

Other Resources
Chinese Tangram Puzzles by Dana Tunison
  A unit which is part of Frisbie Middle School's Multicultural Math Fair.

Manipulating Tangrams - Grandfather Tang's Story by Carol Adamczyk and Annell Veeser

Tangrams by Tom Scavo
  A unit that uses tangrams to compute the area of polygons without employing formulas.

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