A Tangram Puzzle is an old Chinese tile game that consists of seven geometric shapes called tans. The tans usually consist of a square, 5 triangles and a parallelogram. The shapes can be used to form various shapes and designs. I used the original square but also developed a Shamrock puzzle because this lesson was presented in March. I would do the shamrock after the square because it tends to be more difficult.
I have used these puzzles when working with my social groups as a cooperative activity. It is a good activity to work on problem solving, seeing another person’s perspective, using directive language and cooperating within a group. Hopefully you have had a chance to work on some of these skills before this activity and this will allow you a chance to observe and encourage their development.
To begin the activity you need a square puzzle printed out on cardstock for each student in the group. They cut the square apart into individual shapes. At its simplest level each student mixes their pieces up into a pile and then puts them back together into a square shape. The difficulty and need for interaction can be increased by having students mix their pieces of the puzzle with other students. They choose puzzle pieces from the mix and then try to put their square back together again. This forces students to look at the pieces they have and what other students have. They then need to negotiate and trade for the pieces they need to make the original square.
There are two free downloads for this activity. One is the square pattern and the other is a shamrock pattern . I hope your students learn from and enjoy this activity.
Recently I found I have Irish in my DNA so I leave you with this Irish saying.
Life is like a cup of tea,
it’s all in how you make it.