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 for a lesson that was presented in March.
These puzzles work great as a cooperative activity for social skills groups. It is a good activity to work on problem solving, seeing another person’s perspective, using directive language and cooperating within a group. I recommend using the square first because the shamrock tends to be more difficult for the studernts to figure out. Hopefully you have a chance to work on social skills, observe your students in action, encourage their social development and get a break from lesson planning.
To begin the activity you need a square puzzle printed out on cardstock for each student in the group. Look at the bottom of the post for the pattern. Have them 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. It will require them 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.