Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Having Fun with Tangrams in Math Class

A Tangram Puzzle is an ancient Chinese puzzle that is thousands of years old!

A Tangram Puzzle is made up of a square divided into seven (7) shapes. The shapes can be arranged to show over 300 images including animals, people, boats and letters.

Here is a picture of the 7 shapes. Five (5) of the shapes are triangles and two (2) of the shapes are quadrilaterals.

Two (2) sets of the triangles are congruent. The two (2) quadrilaterals are made up of  one (1) square and one (1) parallelogram.

There are many ways to introduce and explore tangrams with students.

~ Students could listen to a story about tangrams. Example: Grandfather Tang's Story (see previous post) and Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes.

 Grandfather Tang's Story (Dragonfly Books)    Three Pigs, One Wolf, Seven Magic Shapes (level 3) (Scholastic Reader, Math)
 Grandfather Tang's Story (Dragonfly Books)

Three Pigs, One Wolf, Seven Magic Shapes (level 3) (Scholastic Reader, Math)

~ Students could observe the 7 shapes (called tans).
  • Students could explore the 7  shapes and sort them by number of sides or vertices (angles).
  • Students could explore the shapes and find congruent shapes and congruent angles.
  • Students could explain how the 2 quadrilaterals are alike and how they are different.

~ Students could observe pictures of some of the images that can be made with tangrams then try to recreate the images with a set of tangrams.

~ Students could create their own images/shapes with the 7 tangrams.

Tangram Shapes can be found in either of the books listed above or in educational or discount stores plus online from Amazon or other retailers. Some are made of heavy stock paper, some are made of foam, others are magnetic, and still others are clear plastic to use on an overhead projector.

I was extremely fortunate and found this wonderful set of 4 tangrams in a package with pictures of 32 images that can be formed with the 7 shapes at Dollar Tree!

~ You can also download a tangram pattern and puzzle here.

Tangram Puzzles Available from Amazon

 Tangrams, 4 Colors, Soft Foam, Set/4Tangrams, 4 Colors, Soft Foam, Set/4




  1. I remember using these in school and LOVED them! Great blog!

    New follower from Wednesday's blog hop!

  2. Tangrams are famous for the variety of choices they provide. They have been used as a main puzzle in many educational and study books for children as well as for teenagers. provides teachers and pupils with free tangram puzzle activities.



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