Reflection: tangram activity PLUS! an idea for a class project using tangram pictures!

Tangram (Image: Wikimedia)

I loved working with the tangram! I loved the challenge that Dr. Yeap posed- such as “I wonder if we can make a rectangle with three pieces” and “Did anyone manage to make a rectangle with five pieces?”

The way the questions were posed hinted at the possibility of the task- at the back of my mind I was thinking “OOOOOOH it can be done and I must try!” Soon, I was trying to make rectangles using all the pieces and was well pleased with myself for being able to make a rectangle using all seven pieces!

Making pictures using pieces of a tangram (Image: http://www.clccharter.org)

What made this particular activity with the tangram great is the use of

  1. the CPA approach: it is a concrete activity- you get to move the pieces around and discover different ways
  2. SCAFFOLDING: the teacher asked questions that set students thinking about the next step ie. help in the student’s learning process
  3. MODELLING: teacher and classmates demonstrated how certain shapes were achieved

Dr. Yeap asked if we knew any books featuring tangrams and he introduced us to Grandfather Tang’s Story, which is based on a Chinese folktale. I learnt that the tangram was traditionally used by Chinese storytellers as visual aid! You can expect tangrams at my next storytelling session :D

When I did a Google search, I found another book featuring the tangram.

You know what I think will be an interesting class activity using the tangram? (What what what?) Get each child to create a character or feature using different pieces, and incorporate these elements in a story. Publish the class story ala Writer’s Workshop!

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