Tom's Math Lessons
Tangrams are a puzzle that help develop spatial-visualization skills,
but they may also be used to introduce or reinforce geometrical
concepts such as congruency, similarity, symmetry, and so forth. This
unit for grades 4 through 6 uses tangrams to compute the
area of polygons without formulas. In the process of
doing so, the terms congruent and
similar are introduced.
- The Math Forum graciously provided the environment and
resources that made this project possible. Sarah Seastone was
- Thanks to Suzanne Alejandre for a critical reading of the
paper version of these lessons, valuable suggestions, and numerous
pointers into the online literature.
- The lesson Constructing Your
Own Set of Tangrams is modeled after the article "How to make
the 7 pieces of a Tangram" by Karen Tobler.
- My son, Brian Scavo, produced a seemingly endless flow of
geometric constructions using tangrams, some of which will be seen
on these pages. Now if only I had time to convert more of Brian's
cool drawings into computer images!
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7 August 1996