Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Geo Jammin' By Design - Day 5, Lesson 26: Tangram Tantrums

Katie Koehnemann
Bay District Schools


Virtual manipulatives and tangrams give students a lesson in geometric terms they won't forget. Challenged with odd shaped puzzles, students must effectively see shapes within a shape, and correctly direct piece movement with the terms slide, flip, turn.


The student describes symmetry in two-dimensional shapes.

The student determines lines of symmetry of two-dimensional shapes by using concrete materials.

The student knows congruent shapes.

The student identifies shapes that can be combined or separated (for example, a rectangle can be separated into two triangles).

The student predicts the reflection of a given two-dimensional shape.

The student identifies and demonstrates slides, flips, and turns of simple figures using concrete materials.

The student transfers patterns from one medium to another (for example, pictorial to symbolic).


-Computer hooked up to a large screen monitor (i.e. television set)
-Website book marked and minimized
-Cards with one vocabulary word written on each (See Teacher Preparations)
-Tangram puzzle math manipulative for each student
-Copy of the puzzle for each student (See Associated File; See NOTE in Teacher Preparation)


1) Write slide, flip, turn on individual sentence strip or card
2) Computer connected to large screen monitor
3) Bookmark suggested Website and minimize it
4) Try each puzzle on the site the day ahead to become familiar with how to do each. Click ‘Show Hint’ to see how to complete the puzzle. Know how to guide students to the correct answer using critical thinking questions.
5) Tangram puzzle for each student.
6) Copy of the puzzle for each student. (See Associated File) NOTE: The grayed puzzle shapes prepared in the Associated File ARE NOT exact, as there is no way of knowing the size tangram puzzles classes may use. These are representative of the shapes. Giving students a copy of a similar shape will afford them the opportunity to experiment with their tangrams to determine if the piece should be made to slide, flip, or turn.


1) To gain student attention and review vocabulary for this lesson, flash a card in the air and choose a student to ‘dance it out’ (See Lesson 2, Dancing Duo). Continue in this fashion with all the cards, allow several students to dance out the words. For shy or hesitate students select groups of 2 or 3 students to perform. To formatively assess, observe students’ accuracy of movements used to demonstrate each word.

2) Maximize the Website (See Weblinks) so students can view the game board. Explain they will help fill in the puzzle shape with tangram pieces. As students give directions using the terms slide, flip, and turn (or rotate), move each piece into place. Do not move a tangram piece unless one of the correct terms is used.

3) To practice use of explicit language (slide, flip, turn) and develop further comprehension students work the same puzzle at their seats with a tangram. Hand out to students a copy of the puzzle shape (See Associated File) and a tangram puzzle.

4) On the Web page, select the same puzzle on the handout. Students may work with the tangram to figure out where each piece is to be placed, or they may offer suggestions by observing the screen.

5) As students give directions, move tangram pieces as suggested until the puzzle is complete. Formative assessment occurs as student directions are followed. Students are to use the terms slide, flip, and turn correctly and give accurate directions to fill in the puzzle with virtual tangram pieces. Take note of improper use of terms and through guiding questions lead students to see the misconception.
*For example: A child knows how he wants a particular piece to be placed but cannot get you to do it. Ask: Can you show me on your puzzle what it is you want the piece to do? You are right; the piece will fit there. What does an ice skater do when he moves but keeps one foot in place? Good, they spin. Now, slow that spin down. What word do you need to use to tell me how you want the tangram piece to move? Correct, turn. We could also say, rotate.
*OR This is very applicable to the broad arrow puzzle: The class just cannot get the first piece into place because the resulting gray area obviously does not make sense for the other pieces. They are fixed on trying to fill in the large top triangle. Ask: Do you see the shape of a large square in the puzzle? All right. Now think what shapes are in the shape of a square? Correct, triangles. Now tell me how to start the puzzle.

6) Continue with the puzzle shape as students guide with correct usage of vocabulary words. To check student knowledge, ask if a particular puzzle shape is symmetrical or not and why. Also ask questions with regard to the line of symmetry and congruent shapes. Formative assessment occurs as students respond and explain their choices. (See Assessment section for criteria.)

7) Individualized instruction is given by calling on and working with students suspected of experiencing difficulty. Peers may give individual assistance.

8) After the puzzle is complete facilitate a discussion about the shapes within a shape and how important it was to notice various shapes in order to be able to complete, and sometimes even begin the puzzle. (See sample questioning in #5 above) Formative assessment occurs as students discuss predicting shape usage; predicting what the pieces would look like to slide, to flip, and to turn; and they used the manipulatives to be sure of their predictions.

9) Remind students there is a summative assessment the next day.

10) Literacy Link – Send home with students the Website address to challenge their parents at home, along with a reminder to parents there is a summative assessment the following day.


Formative assessment occurs as students are observed performing the three vocabulary words, as well as the directions given to move each piece. Listen for students to use the terms slide, flip, and turn accurately, and through proper use, give correct directions for completing the puzzle.
Formative assessment also occurs as students correctly identify and support their response to questions about symmetry, the line of symmetry, and congruent shapes, as well as when
students discuss predicting shape usage; predicting what the pieces would look like to slide, to flip, and to turn; and they used the manipulatives to be sure of their predictions.


1) OPTION I: Set computers in a learning center at the specified Website. Students work on the puzzle using the virtual manipulatives.
2) OPTION II: Make one copy of each puzzle. (See Associated File) Laminate each. Place laminated puzzles in a learning center for students to solve using tangrams.
3) If it is not possible to utilize the interactive Website, print copies of the puzzle shapes in the Associated File. Students use printed puzzles. Keep in mind, puzzles may not be the same size as tangram used, however, students can imitate the shape with any size tangram.
4) Literacy Link: Send home with students theURL. Students challenge parents at home.
5) This is Lesson 26 – Tangram Tantrums; a Math lesson
Lessons 1 – 6 are for Day 1 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons 7 – 11 are for Day 2 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons 12 – 17 are for Day 3 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons 18 – 23 are for Day 4 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons 24 – 28 are for Day 5 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons 29 – 32 are for Day 6 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign.
Lessons 33 – 38 are for Day 7 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons may reflect modifications of, but are designed in conjunction with, the Reading Framework approach to classroom instruction and may be adapted to the Four Block Classroom.
6) The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).
7) Ask Hannah (Interactive Student Web Lesson) teaches and reviews symmetry concepts. Use it as a learning center. If a journal is kept for this unit, allow students time to reflect on this activity.

Web Links

Web supplement for Day 5, Lesson 26, Tangram Tantrums
Developing Geometry Understanding

Attached Files

Support Material     File Extension: pdf

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