Series: Hear from the Experts

Tangram Puzzles: Make One For Your Kids

Duration: 06:20Having video problems?

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Instructor Lisa Ginet explains how to make tangram puzzles, an ancient Chinese game made from seven shapes cut from a square. Over 6500 different arrangements can be made from these seven simple shapes!

Why is this important?

Students often enjoy putting tangrams together to make forms that represent people or animals. Prompting students to match arrangements in silhouette form (that is, without the outline of each shape shown) is a good way for them to reinforce their spatial reasoning skills.

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Big Idea

Shapes can be combined and separated (composed and decomposed) to make new shapes. More

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Common Core Alignment

Geometry More

Foundational Math Concepts

Source: Erikson Institute • Copyright: Erikson Institute • Content ID: ED283 ➀

More in the Hear from the Experts series


Myths of Early Mathematics (Part 1)

Jennifer McCray, director of Erikson's Early Math Collaborative, addresses some myths about early math. Counting is, in fact, complicated!


Myths of Early Mathematics (Part 2)

Jennifer McCray, director of Erikson's Early Math Collaborative, continues her talk on some of the most common misconceptions about early math education.


Myths of Early Mathematics (Part 3)

Jennifer McCray, director of Erikson's Early Math Collaborative, continues her talk on some of the major misunderstandings about what goes into teaching mathematics to young students. In this section, she focuses on how children gradually develop their understanding of number and quantity.

What do you think?

  1. Comment icon

    Paula G. Stout

    March 8, 2017 at 3:34pm


    I wonder if online games such as (or others apps in tablets) are as good to the kids development as the old fashioned that this video promotes.


  2. Comment icon

    Lisa Ginet

    March 21, 2017 at 9:28am

    Good question, Paula!
    The brainzilla app does encourage players to use visualization to compose shapes, which fosters spatial thinking. It also has many, many puzzles, so players can keep working for a long time.
    However, what is missing from the app is the kinesthetic experience of manipulating the tans, which adds to players’understanding of shape attributes and spatial relations. So I think real tangrams do add value.
    – Lisa

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