I can't believe I don't know how to use Tangrams!

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by glitterfish, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2008

    One of the other teachers on my team offered to let me use her tangrams with my 4th grade class. Problem? I don't know how to use them! How is this possible...I'm not sure? (Everyone loves tangrams!) I've never been a spatial-visual person and am horrible with geometry type math. I remember using tangrams when I was a kid in school, but I never understood what they were for or what we were supposed to be doing! :blush: I know they are a hot education item that's been around forever, but can anyone explain to me what exactly they are for and how you would lead a lesson with them? Thanks so much. I'm almost embarassed to even ask!
     
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  3. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Sep 6, 2008

    There are lots of activities, but I am not a spatial person either, so I always have to look them up.

    The first thing I do is a Marilyn Burns activity where we start with a square of paper and cut it into the 7 tangram shapes; this proves to the students that the pieces will go back into a square. Then I give them my plastic tangram pieces and they try to make the square; it is very frustrating for some kids ( and me!)

    There are others such as use several certain pieces to make a rectangle, parallelogram, etc.

    I can look up some ideas at school next week if someone else doesn't post first.
     
  4. teach_each1

    teach_each1 Comrade

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    eh...I don't know how to use cuisinaire rods (and had never seen them before this year when we ordered some to supplement our curriculum)

    I just went to my teaching partners and asked what the best way would be to implement them was.
     
  5. TeachinHicks

    TeachinHicks Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2008

    There are a couple of great books out there that use tangrams too. One of them is called Granfather Tang It's an awesome book and there are lesson ideas online for it.

    Hope this helps!
     
  6. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    When I use tangrams with my second graders we always start out with 2 to 3 pieces. I really stress the point that you must remember to turn, flip, and rotate the pieces in order for them to fit sometimes. After practicing for awhile I move on to 4 to 5 pieces and then 6 to 7. Sometimes working with partners helps, too.
     
  7. pxydst07

    pxydst07 Comrade

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    google it!

    Iwould google tangram lessons. I'm not sure what type of content is on your state tests, but tangrams would work with slide, flip, and turn. Those are always hard concepts and the visual would help.
     
  8. glitterfish

    glitterfish Comrade

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    I just found this awesome website with a little video that leads you through making your own tangram using a regular 8x11 piece of paper. I did the steps along with the computer and finally have an understanding of what tangrams are all about!

    The site is: http://www.linkslearning.org/Kids/1_Math/2_Illustrated_Lessons/7_Tangrams/index.html

    If I can get the laptop/projector cart in my classroom, I would love to do this activity with my students. It was so easy to follow!
     
  9. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    From www.mathwire.com

    Featured Topic: Creating Tangrams
    Watch the Links Learning Geometric Shapes with Tangrams lesson with students. A whiteboard, LCD projector, or large monitor should be used for this class presentation. Each student should have a rectangular sheet of construction paper and a pair of scissors so that he/she may create the tangrams while watching the presentation. The presentation is designed to pause while students follow each set of directions to create the tangram pieces. The teacher may use the navigation buttons to repeat the directions, as needed, before clicking on NEXT to see next segment in the presentation.

    The presentation identifies tangram pieces by geometric name as they are created, and discusses vertices, sides, congruent sides, congruent angles, etc. as they apply to the shape. Before cutting the next piece, the current tangram pieces are placed on a second sheet of construction paper to eliminate accidental cutting of these pieces. Provide students with a second sheet of construction paper which they label Tangrams and use as a bank for tangrams throughout the process.

    After creating the different pieces, students will be asked to use the online tangram pieces to create the shapes shown on the computer. For this whole class presentation, ask students to use their own tangram pieces to create the shape on the screen. Walk around to monitor student proficiency in rotating the tangram pieces to form other shapes. When students have completed the task, click on the ANSWER button so that students visually see the pieces rotated to cover the given shape.

    Modifications: Some students who are perceptually-challenged may have difficulty with this screen-to-desk activity. Be prepared to use any or all of these modifications to meet the special needs of students in the class:

    provide a tangram template with lines that students simply cut apart throughout the presentation to replace the folding and cutting instructions in the presentation provide full-size models of the challenge shapes for these students to use at their desks, if appropriate have these students work with another student on the task have these students watch the presentation with earphones at a classroom computer, following along with the class in creating the pieces. Using their own computer places the student closer to the object, making the hand-eye coordination less of a distance problem.

    Math-Literature Connections
    Introduce elementary students to the concept of tangrams by reading one or both of the these books. Both books tell a story through tangram illustrations. Teachers should read the story for enjoyment, then provide tangrams and full-size templates of the tangram figures from each story for students to cover with their tangrams.

    Three Pigs, One Wolf and Seven Magic Shapes
    Three Pigs, One Wolf and Seven Magic Shapes by Grace Maccarone is a mathematical take on the classic fairy tale. Students are introduced to tangrams in this leveled reader. The pigs use the seven magic shapes to form solutions to the problems they encounter. Students will enjoy using tangrams to recreate the figures in the book as well as creating their own tangram figures for classmates to solve.

    Download the Seven Magic Shapes Templates that show individual pieces so that young students can position tangram pieces correctly to form the characters in the book. These templates were designed to be used with commercial tangram pieces.
    Download the Seven Magic Shapes Shadow Templates that show black shapes so that students must figure out how to position tangram pieces correctly to form the characters in the book. These templates were designed to be used with commercial tangram pieces.
    Download the Tangram Shapes Template can be used to create tangram pieces to use with templates above if commercial tangram pieces are not available.

    Grandfather Tang's Story
    Grandfather Tang's Story by Anne Tompert also uses tangrams to illustrate the story a grandfather tells his granddaughter. Students will enjoy recreating the tangram creatures found throughout the book.

    Assemble the tangram pieces to replicate figures in the book. Trace around the outside of the figures then fill in the shape with black marker. These are best traced onto oaktag or card stock and laminated before use. Place the tangram characters and tangram pieces in your math center for students to try during center time.
    Ask students to create a new character for the book and make a tangram mat for the character that can be added to the tangram center for classmates to try.

    Tangram Magician
    Tangram Magician by Lisa Campbell Ernst is similar to Grandfather Tang as the magician changes shape throughout the story.

    The Tangram ABC Book
    The Tangram ABC Book by T. Foster presents several tangram puzzles for each letter of the alphabet. For example, the letter A shows armadillo and airplane.

    Then and Now on Old MacDonald's Farm
    Then and Now on Old MacDonald's Farm by T. Foster uses tangrams to tell the traditional story.

    Tangram Links
    These sites provide additional tangram activities for students.

    PBS Kids Cyberchase Tangram Game allows students to elect lines on or off to create the figure using easily maneuverable tangram pieces.
    The Math Forum Tangram Web Unit includes lessons on constructing your own set of tangrams, the area of tangram pieces, more tangram activities and other tangram resources.
    Math Forum's Tangrams and Fractions encourages students to investigate the fractional part of the whole square that each tangram piece represents. By changing the "whole," the fractional parts are also changed, presenting activities that develop a conceptual understanding of the area model of fractions.
    NCTM's Tangram Puzzles and Tangram Challenges help students develop spatial skills through the use of interactive applets to investigate tangram puzzles.

    The Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching's Tangram Unit has additional puzzles.
    Find more tangram ideas at Tangram Puzzles, including people and animals shapes that may be downloaded for student use. An answer sheet is also available, making this an excellent resource for math centers.

    Tangram Activities for Grades K-12 provides suggestions for using tangrams at different grade levels. Check out the Tangram Zoo for some tangram animals that might be used in conjunction with a science unit.

    Tantalizing Tangrams incorporates transformations in an exploration of tangrams.

    Invention Playhouse's Puzzle Blocks are similar to tangram puzzles. Younger students may click the Help button to see the outline of pieces in the puzzle shape.
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Sep 6, 2008

    I still don't know, could you share what your co teachers shared w/you?:blush:
     
  11. matchstickgirl

    matchstickgirl Companion

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    Sep 7, 2008

    I love love love Tangrams! I would definitely look into the Grandfather Tang book. It offers a ton of ways to make different animals using the pieces.

    I usually use Tangrams during centers or free days.

    On a side note I found Tangrams for a dollar at Dollar Tree! They came in a set of four and seem to be carboard. Not as great as plastic would be, but for a dollar.. not bad! :)
     
  12. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 7, 2008

    Wow, those are some amazing lists of resources.
     

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