I’d like to share my love for the tangrams with you, and maybe inspire to use them in a few different ways than you already have! They are amazing for practicing key skills! Here are four reasons why you should be using tangram puzzles. Tangrams aren’t new in the classroom, but I do wonder if sometimes they are forgotten among the huge variety of math manipulatives?
This post contains affiliate links. You can read my entire disclosure statement here.
What are tangrams?
1ST BIG REASON: Tangram puzzles are perfect for differentiated tasks!
When using tangram puzzles in my classroom I find it just as important to differentiate these tasks as I would teaching anything else. The tasks I use are differentiated by having three different sets of puzzles. The first set only gives the students an outline of the puzzle. The second set gives them all the shapes individual outlines. The third set only gives them a written task (which makes it impossible to provide one single correct answer to different tasks – multiple options will be correct!). Set 1 and set 2 can be used the same time to provide differentiated options for different students.
Main topics suited for using tangram puzzles:
- Practicing geometry skills and becoming familiar with geometric shapes.
- Learning about geometric concepts such as congruence and similarity.
- Working with fractions by determining that all the pieces combines make a whole, and that different sized shapes constitute larger/smaller pieces of the whole.
- Working with area and perimeter tasks.
- Working with coordinates.
Use different cut out templates for a variety of oral math activities! I prefer to use template 1 with my students – a multi colored template. Having different colored shapes makes it easier to have mathematical conversations as we solve the puzzles. Another great option is to give each student their own singular colored set, and have them cut out the pieces. Next they will have to trade with classmates in order to have 7 differently colored pieces. This was a great oral activity in my classroom. “I have a purple parallelogram, and I want to trade it for a blue square?”
2ND, 3RD & 4TH BIG REASONS:
Important skills are developed when using tangram puzzles!
Skill #2: Critical thinking.
Problem solving skills go hand in hand with critical thinking and the ability to reason and make judgments.Every single day we all encounter different problems we need to solve – some more complex than others. Some are tied to practical tasks, other to personal relationships. Being able to identify barriers that stand between us and solving a problem is helpful not only in matters of tangram puzzles, but in life as a whole.
PHEW! That was a lot to take in.