ALEX Lesson Plan


Tantalizing Tangrams

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Vicki McCray
System: Hale County
School: Moundville Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 12612


Tantalizing Tangrams


This is an introductory lesson using tangrams. Students will observe the seven geometric shapes that make up the tangram in a variety of ways that exhibit spatial relationships. They will have hands-on experiences using these tangrams to create new shapes. Finally, they will try to make the seven shapes form a square.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
AED (K) Visual Arts
1. Use selected materials to produce works of art.
Examples: water-soluble paint, clay
  • Creating works of art using a variety of traditional processes
  • Examples: crayon-resist paintings, folding and curling different kinds of paper
  • Creating two- and three-dimensional art forms
  • Examples: finger paintings, paper collages, clay pinch pots
  • Recognizing safe and proper use and care of basic tools, materials, and supplies, including scissors, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, paints, paintbrushes, and clay
  • Example: properly holding and using scissors to cut paper
    TC2 (K-2)
    4. Identify safe use of technology systems and applications.
    Examples: protecting personal information online, avoiding inappropriate sites, exiting inappropriate sites
    TC2 (K-2)
    7. Use digital tools to access and retrieve information.
    Examples: online libraries, multimedia dictionaries, search engines, directories
  • Evaluating accuracy of digital content
  • Example: determining fact versus opinion
    MA2015 (K)
    17. Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to. [K-G1]
    MA2015 (K)
    18. Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size. [K-G2]
    MA2015 (K)
    19. Identify shapes as two-dimensional (lying in a plane, "flat") or three-dimensional ("solid"). [K-G3]
    MA2015 (K)
    20. Analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, parts (e.g., number of sides and vertices or "corners"), and other attributes (e.g., having sides of equal length). [K-G4]
    MA2015 (K)
    21. Model shapes in the world by building shapes from components (e.g., sticks and clay balls) and drawing shapes. [K-G5]
    MA2015 (K)
    22. Compose simple shapes to form larger shapes. [K-G6]
    Example: "Can you join these two triangles with full sides touching to make a rectangle'"
    MA2015 (1)
    19. Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes. [1-G1]
    MA2015 (1)
    20. Compose two-dimensional shapes (rectangles, squares, trapezoids, triangles, half-circles, and quarter-circles) or three-dimensional shapes (cubes, right rectangular prisms, right circular cones, and right circular cylinders) to create a composite shape, and compose new shapes from the composite shape. (Students do not need to learn formal names such as "right rectangular prism.") [1-G2]
    MA2015 (1)
    21. Partition circles and rectangles into two and four equal shares; describe the shares using the words halves, fourths, and quarters; and use the phrases half of, fourth of, and quarter of. Describe the whole as two of, or four of the shares. Understand for these examples that decomposing into more equal shares creates smaller shares. [1-G3]
    MA2015 (2)
    24. Recognize and draw shapes having specified attributes such as a given number of angles or a given number of equal faces. (Sizes are compared directly or visually, not compared by measuring.) Identify triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, and cubes. [2-G1]
    MA2015 (2)
    25. Partition a rectangle into rows and columns of same-size squares, and count to find the total number of them. [2-G2]
    MA2015 (2)
    26. Partition circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares; describe the shares using the words halves, thirds, half of, a third of, etc.; and describe the whole as two halves, three thirds, or four fourths. Recognize that equal shares of identical wholes need not have the same shape. [2-G3]

    Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will manipulate tangram pieces into a variety of different common shapes.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Grandfather Tang's Story by Ann Tompert, printed Tangram Puzzles, construction paper, glue, Tangrams (one set per child)

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computer with Internet access and LCD projector or other projection device for large-group viewing


    1.)Begin this lesson by having students view a video clip of tangrams moving into a story on the website.
    This website allows students to see a variety of ways tangrams can be used to make different shapes.

    2.)Read Grandfather Tang's Story , using questions to preview and predict outcomes.

    3.)Give each student a set of tangrams. Allow the students to explore the tangram pieces trying to form different shapes and then a square.

    4.)Students should now work with tangrams using the printed puzzles from the website to form a variety of common objects, animals, letters, and people. Have the students choose their favorite design and have them glue the design on a piece of construction paper. Display these designs for the school to see.
    (Seven Tangram Pieces)
    This website provides a set of tangrams that can be printed and used by the students.

    5.)After the students have completed their designs, allow them time to work on tangram puzzles on the Internet.
    (Tangram Game)
    This website allow students to try of solve different tangram puzzles.


    Assessment Strategies

    Teacher will observe students interacting with tangram pieces. Students should be able to manipulate puzzle pieces into various shapes using the printed puzzles.
    Teacher should assess the final design to determine if the students understand spatial relationships between objects.


    Students can continue working with tangrams during center time, making their name using the printed material. They can also draw around a new, original shape they've made individually. They may also access the tangram website to play games that incorporate moving the puzzle pieces around.


    Pair a student who is weaker in the area of spatial relationships with a student who exhibits stronger qualities.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.