Monday, March 26, 2007

Teaching Tangrams - Journal Articles

Title: Tackling Tangrams
Authors: Deanna Rigdon; Jolyn Raleigh; Shari Goodman
Journal: Teaching Children Mathematics 6 no5 304-5 Ja 2000

In this article, you will find many interactive and creative activities involving tangrams that can be used with students from K-6. One such activity called “Name that Tangram” gives students a riddle and requires them to guess the geometric shape described. For example: I am one of five similar pieces. I have three sides. None of the pieces are the same as I am. What tangram piece am I? This activity appeals directly to students. Also, no solutions are suggested so that students will look to themselves as the mathematical authority, thereby developing confidence to validate their work.

Title: An Old Tale with a New Turn--and Flip and Slide
Author: Pat Margerm
Jornal: Teaching Children Mathematics 6 no2 86-90 O 1999

This article describes how one can use literature to teach mathematics. This article outlines such a lesson involving tangrams and the story the Three Pigs, One Wolf, and Seven Magic Shapes. By using this story in the classroom, children are exposed to the concept of tangrams through authentic situations. They are able to create tangram shapes and discuss and write about their mathematical transformations. This is an excellent activity to engage students in mathematical learning, as well as increase their enthusiasm toward this particular subject area. There are also numerous extension activities provided at the end of this article that incorporate concepts such as patterns, measurement, and transformational geometry.

Title: Are You Puzzled?
Author: Rosamond Welchman
Journal: Teaching Children Mathematics 5 no7 412-15 Mr '99

This article describes a lesson where students are involved in working with and comparing two different seven-piece puzzles- the classic tangram puzzle and the seven-piece mosaic puzzle. After children are encouraged to explore each puzzle, they will then compare the two puzzles by constructing various triangles. For example, children are asked to predict whether more triangles will be found with the seven-piece mosaic puzzle than with the tangram puzzle by looking at characteristics such as size, pieces used, orientation on paper etc. Extension activities include making all possible rectangles or squares, and exploring area, angles, lengths, and polygons. By “playing” with puzzles, students discover many of the principles of geometry while enhancing their higher-order thinking skills and having fun while doing so.

Title: Quilts and Tangrams: Linking Literature and Geometry
Authors: Gerry Bohning and Rebecca Williams
Journal: Childhood Education v73 p83-7 Wint '96-'97

In this article, students link literature to geometry by making quilt patterns using tangram pieces. This lesson gives step by step instructions ranging from introducing tangrams, to when to use quilt literature, to teaching students how to use their tangram pieces to create numerous quilt designs. There are several books listed at the end of this article that can be read to compliment this lesson. This is a very beneficial activity because it provides an authentic learning experience where children can apply what they have learned about tangrams to a popular pastime that has been around for centuries.

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