Playing with tangrams can be a lot of fun, but not too many students have looked at them in a systematic way. The seven shapes can give students practice in problem solving and logical thinking and are captivating enough to keep them working at it for a long while. We first began by reading some books about tangrams (see above.)
|This graph is from Family Math|
Have them make a graph with basic shapes on one side and numbers along another. See if they can figure out how to make the shapes with different amounts of the seven possible shapes. When they figure out how to make the wanted shape out of the prescribed amount of shapes, have them sketch it in the square. Better yet, make a wall sized graph and have them trace over the tangram shapes, cut them out in one piece and glue onto the graph. This is a great family, multi-aged project, saving the easier columns for the younger students and the multi-shape columns for the older students. This is a project that can be done a little bit at a time over a period of days or weeks, as part of their math or during free time.
|Another fun way to explore tangrams is to make cookies with them!|
|I rolled out some sugar cookie dough and I used my wooden tangram pieces for a template...|
|cut out the seven magic shapes.|
|I then let them decide what cookie picture they wanted to make and place the shapes correctly.|
|They added some chocolate or caramel pieces for decorative features. |
They baked into large one-piece cookies but you could still see the lines where the tangram shapes fit together.