A tangram literally means “7 boards of skill” and goes way back to China a long, long, long time ago. Tangrams feed your brain concepts like fractions, geometry, spatial reasoning, symmetry… all while employing problem solving, fine motor, and patience with a side of art. And, most kids and adults have fun with them.
When I was assigned to write a “tiered lesson plan” for a Differentiated Learning class, I knew Tangrams would be a fun topic to build a lesson plan for my own children and one my 2nd graders would enjoy. If you want to see what a formal differentiated lesson plan looks like Click Here! (Hug your teachers, they study and work hard! )
Here we go! Let’s start with a fantastic differentiation tool.
I designed this specific tic tac toe board around TANGRAMS! The cool thing is you can use this strategy a 100+ ways. We all love choices, so building a lesson around choices does this magic thing to children called buy-in and revs up the excitement level of learning. The very act of choosing and organizing their projects is learning in itself, not to mention it’s in a game format which adds a twist of self-motivation. Brainstorm with me for a minute: chore charts, lunch/snacks menus, home learning, new vocabulary words, to do lists, idea board for when kids are “bored”…
Back to the lesson…before they saw the Tic Tac Toe Tangram Board, I read Grandfather Tang’s Story by Ann Tompert. In my 2nd grade classroom, I read the story and picked students to build the animals projected on the Smart Board. They loved it! I added this Tangram Activity into our Math Workshop Stations. I mounted the cards on construction paper, laminated, and will keep these with a copy of the book. Also, for higher level thinking, I printed a second copy and colored them in with a sharpie. I glued it on the back so the student has the choice of building with help, or without.
Sweet Grandfather Tang tells his granddaughter a story as he builds pictures to match using tangrams. My 14 page packet is available in my Teacher’s Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers store for $4.99. Click the picture above or the store icons on my homepage sidebar. Add in the tic-tac-toe board above to extend learning.
Here’s a closer walk through the Tic Tac Toe Tangram Choices:
Technology Tangrams: Tan Zen App Lite (in the picture above) and ABCya Tangrams is free and fun!
Tangram Sensory: Sandgrams! (I used brown sugar)
All this tangraming has made us hungry…Have a Tangram Snack!
Create a Game using Floor Tangrams: Ava’s game was called “Dance and Build”. She asked me to crank up some music. We took turns dancing while a person made a new design. I may have changed the words to some 90s hip hop songs to include the word Tangrams. You’ll never know.
Ava used her Tangrams to write her story. She came up with a “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” format. In the classroom, this would make a great class book to share.
With the ANYgrams activity, Maya decided to divide a heart shape into pieces and she built 3 puzzles for us to solve. This really stretched her brain…and mine!
Happy Tangraming! –Shelisa