Monday, March 26, 2007

Teaching Tangrams - Online
This is a three-day lesson plan suitable for grade four students. The first lesson involves introducing students to tangrams, getting them to create their own set of tangram pieces, and using these to explore. Lesson two gives students the opportunity to compare and sort their tangram pieces according to the number of sides, and classify them by their appropriate name. They also construct various shapes using the tangram pieces. For example, creating a triangle using two shapes etc. In the last lesson, the teacher reads the story Grandfather Tang by Ann Tompert. After this has been completed, the students manipulate their tangram pieces in order to make the objects they have encountered throughout the story. Assessment for all three lessons is provided as well.
The goal of this lesson is for students to determine the area of their tangram pieces without using a particular formula. Students work with their tangram pieces to investigate various scenarios stemming from the first situation: Let’s suppose this square has an area of one square unit. From this, students are required to answer questions similar to the following: Make a square with the two small congruent triangles. What is the area of this square? How do you know? To extend this lesson, the area of the small square can be changed to two square units.
Building on what was learned from the previous lesson, students can compute the area of any polygon constructed from their tangram pieces. This lesson also incorporates the concept of congruency, and is slightly more advanced, allowing students to work with more elaborate geometric shapes. For example: Use a parallelogram and the two small congruent triangles to make a rectangle. It also presents students with a certain shape they must construct, but gives them a restriction such as: Construct a triangle congruent to the large triangle shown without using the square. This is a great way to develop problem-solving skills. A variety of extension activities are outlined also.
This lesson was developed for grade five and six students and combines both tangrams and fractions. Students are asked which part of the whole square is the large right triangle, the square, the parallelogram etc. Evaluation and follow-up activities are given as well. This lesson can be made more challenging, by changing the unit whole. For example, choosing the large right triangle and saying it is now one unit in area.
This is a three-five day lesson plan revolving around the Grandfather Tang story by Ann Tompert. In this lesson, children not only make the objects they encounter throughout the story, they are also given the opportunity to work with all seven of their tangram pieces to construct animals found in nature. Language arts is integrated into this lesson as well, as students are required to write an acrostic poem using their animals name. Further more, this lesson incorporates technology. Students are given the opportunity to explore creating their tangram animals using Kid Pix Studio Deluxe. Assessment, supplementary information, as well as related websites are provided.
While this lesson is not directly linked to mathematics, the concept of tangrams is addressed through the beautiful story of Li’s Tangram Animals. Although the main purpose of this lesson is to assess objectives such as vocabulary, comprehension etc., it brings math into the language arts classroom, which you do not often see. The illustrations and diagrams support the text and introduce readers to basic geometric concepts. Therefore, through using this book in the classroom, the transition into using tangrams in math is made easier. This book can also be integrated into the art and social studies curriculum.

No comments: