Tangram Geometry

Michael Ilan Loeb, PS 89—The Cypress Hills Community School


Program Background Unit Plan Lesson Plan Teaching the Lesson
Grade: Third

Content Area: Math
Time Frame of Unit: Five 1-hour lessons
Language(s) of Lessons: English

Unit Theme: Using the Chinese Tangram to deepen basic geometric understandings


Standards to Be Addressed

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Grade 3-5 Geometry Standard

Analyzing characteristics and properties of two- and three-dimensional geometric shapes and developing mathematical arguments about geometric relationships.

Applying transformations and using symmetry to analyze mathematical situations.

Using visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems.


National Council of Teachers of English and the International Reading Association Standards for the English Language Arts


Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, ESL Standards for Pre-K Students

Guiding Questions

Big Ideas

Background/Prior Knowledge to be Activated in the Unit


Content Area Skills and Concepts

Language Skills

Vocabulary Related to Study Unit




Teaching/Learning Activities



Observe students as they cut Tangrams. Are they able to understand the instructions? Are they able to fold and cut with precision? Can they recover if they have missed a step, or do they become frustrated?


Examine finished sets for accuracy. Ensure that all 7 pieces have been created and that no edges were cut off.


Circulate while students work on shapes, paying close attention to the ability of individual students to flip, slide, and rotate pieces to make shapes. When they are stuck, can they follow peer instructions? Do they give instructions using precise mathematical language? When working with and without a solution in front of them, can students mentally perform the rotations and flips necessary to recreate a design or must they physically move the Tans? Do they recognize shapes that merely need to be rotated or flipped? Can they recall previous solution strategies they have employed?


Save completed Tangram shapes graphic organizer and student Tangram art for classroom display and inclusion in math portfolios.