Tangrams originated in China over 200 years ago. Mathematical puzzles take advantage of the simple concept of using basic shapes to create larger or more intricate shapes and objects. Traditionally, the Chinese puzzle was a square divided into seven pieces called Tans. Each of the pieces had a different shape, including:

  • 2 large right triangles
  • 1 medium-sized right triangle
  • 2 small right triangles
  • 1 small square
  • 1 parallelogram

You have to solve the puzzle by arranging the pieces (Tans) correctly to get them to fit back into a perfect square. They also came in patterns arranged into a rectangle or an equilateral triangle.

The best part about tangrams is that you can get creative with them. After taking the original shape apart, you can flip them, turn them, and rearrange them into many unique and dynamic shapes. Some of the most fascinating and creative builds turn tangram puzzles into animals, everyday objects, or rockets!

How Do Tangram Puzzles Work?

To solve a tangram puzzle, students must utilize their visual and fine motor skills together. At the same time, looking and observing to see how the pieces fit together and if the setting seems correct. Problem solving also occurs as students notice something that doesn’t seem right and aim to fix it.

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