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Author: Joanne Caniglia
Grade Level: 5-6
Description: This activity incorporates both tangrams and fractions. The Tangram puzzle was invented by the ancient Chinese hundreds of years ago. It is a square broken into seven pieces. When rearranged, these pieces form a great variety of shapes and pictures. This puzzle provides an excellent background for determining fractional parts and wholes.
Objectives: To determine the fractional part of each Tangram piece given information about one of the other seven pieces.
Resources/Materials: A set of Tangrams on card stock
- Ask students to create a square unit from all seven pieces.
- Choosing each piece of the Tangram set, ask students which part of the whole square it is.
Large right triangles: 1/4
Small right triangles: 1/16 each
Medium Right Triangle: 1/8
- Changing the unit whole is an interesting activity. For example, if a large right triangle is held chosen and announced that this is now 1 unit in area, ask how the other pieces correspond.
Small Right Triangle: 1/4 (each)
Medium Right Triangle: 1/2
Evaluation: Students will identify the fractional part of each Tangram piece. They will also be able to add fractions with unlike denominators and create equations using their Tangram pieces.
Follow-up Activities: An extension to these activities is to allow students to create shapes with a particular unit value. For example, ask students to make a picture having the area of 5/8. Which pieces will be able to be used?
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