Make or use commercial overhead transparencies of the Tangram Puzzle Pieces.
Use the overhead projector to model how to fill the puzzles with the
tangram pieces. For example, the Tangram School can be filled as shown
Discuss how it is necessary to turn over, rotate, or slide
pieces to complete a puzzle. Provide each student with tangram pieces
and simple puzzles, such as those included in the Tangram Puzzle activity sheet.
Note: If tangram pieces are not available, you may wish
to duplicate the first page of the activity sheet and have each student
create her own set. You may duplicate it on colored paper or flexible
plastic and cut out the pieces. A management strategy that helps in
distributing and storing the puzzle pieces is to place one complete set
of seven pieces in a resealable plastic bag labeled with the student's
Have the students complete each of the puzzles on the activity sheet
(Tangram Puppy and Tangram Tree). Move among the students, recording
the names of those who are able to rotate, turn over, or slide the
pieces to fill the puzzle accurately. The students might glue paper
Tangram pieces to the puzzle or another sheet of paper as a record of
their performance on this activity. If you keep these student work
samples, they might be used for future planning.
For the next part of the lesson, display the Interactive Tangram Puzzles to the students, using an overhead projector, Smart Board, or other device.
Show the students that what they see on the screen matches the
Tangram pieces they used in the first part of this lesson. Identify
each of the Tangram pieces and compare the virtual ones with the
concrete ones used by the students. Demonstrate how to select a puzzle
piece on the site and move it onto the puzzle outline.
Demonstrate how to "grab" a corner of a shape in order to rotate
it and how to highlight the shape to turn it over using the curved
arrow icon. When a shape is "grabbed," dots appear on it and the arrow
in the upper-right corner turns red as shown in the picture above.
You may also wish to show the students how to change the colors of
the shapes. (Selecting a shape and clicking on the new color choice on
the right side of the screen accomplish this.) Model for students how
to turn over (flip), rotate, and slide their Tangram pieces with the
concrete tools simultaneous with the electronic tool so that students
understand what happens when they make these transformations.
Using the tools and strategies you just demonstrated, complete one
of the puzzles on the computer while the students observe. A discussion
of what you did and why you did it will help the students hear the
vocabulary and consider the thinking required to complete a puzzle.
Have the students work in pairs to complete the electronic Tangram
puzzles. Encourage them to discuss with each other what needs to be
done to fit the pieces to match the outline of the puzzle. (This
exercise focuses students' attention on the transformations required to
make pieces fit. A turnover, rotation, or slide of pieces may be
necessary to complete the puzzle.) This discourse facilitates students'
problem solving and reasoning about the process. It connects actions
with vocabulary and assists the students in relating what happens with
concrete and virtual tools.