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An Explorer lesson plan. Download a Claris Works or Acrobat file from the Explorer site. Also information on grades, availability, description, curriculum, process skills, author, and publisher.

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

Activities/Procedures:

- 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

Square:1/8

Small right triangles:1/16 each

Medium Right Triangle:1/8

Parallelogram: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.

Square:1/2

Small Right Triangle:1/4 (each)

Parallelogram:1/2

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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