Tangrams are a wonderful manipulative to use in the middle and high school.
Making a Set of Tangram Pieces is a powerpoint that illustrates six steps for taking a normal sheet of paper, folding it, and using a pair of scissors to cut the pieces apart.
• Step one shows how to make a square out of a regular sheet of 8.5" x 11" paper. (It will also work with any rectangular sheet of paper.)
• Step two shows making the square into two isosceles right triangles by folding and cutting along one of the diagonals.
• Step three has the students select one of two isosceles right triangles from step two and fold it along a line of symmetry to create two new isosceles right triangles.
• Step four has the students return to their largest isosceles right triangle and begin making other pieces from it. First the students fold the isosceles right triangle in half to locate only the midpoint of the hypotenuse. Once this point is identified, they fold the vertex of the right angle to that point. Students cut along this fold to create another isosceles right triangle and an isosceles trapezoid.
• Step five has the students make three pieces from the isosceles trapezoid from step 4 The make a square, an isosceles right triangle, and a right trapezoid.
• Step six has the students use their right trapezoid and make a square and another isosceles right triangle by folding. The students now have the seven tangram pieces.
• Challenge the students to reassemble the seven tangram pieces back into the original square by trying to remember what they did to cut the pieces apart.
• A follow up activity, along with a solution, is included on the last two slides of the powerpoint.
The powerpoint can be used as a set of directions for a class.
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