is an intellectual puzzle game, originated in China. It consists of seven
pieces, in the shapes of triangles and quadrilaterals. Tangrams were called 七巧板 or "Chi-Chiao
Pan", meaning "the seven intriguing pieces". The objective of the puzzle
game is to form a designated pattern using all the seven pieces together.
There are many patterns which may be formed from the tangram pieces. These
include basic geometric patterns, shapes of animals, and various common objects.
Brief History of Tangrams
is one of the historical disection puzzles originating
from imperial China. Various tangram patterns may be form from the simple
geometric pieces of the tangram puzzle. One documentation on tangrams was recorded in a Chinese book
dated 1813, however, tangrams have been know to have existed much earlier in history.
Another book, "New Figures of the Tangram" by Shan-Chiao, was published in China
in 1815, which contained 374 tangram patterns. These documentations were written during the reign of emperor Chia-Ching, during
the time when tangrams were at the summit of its popularity in China.
Known to the Chinese as the "wisdom puzzle", tangrams have been
well-known to the western world since the 19th century.
Well-known people, such as Edgar Allan Poe, Napoleon, H.E.Dudeney, and
Sam Loyd have all shown great interest in tangrams. By 1817, tangrams had
gain popularity in Europe and America. In fact, the word tangram officially appeared in Webster's dictionary in 1864.
The Tangram Puzzle Set
The tangram puzzle set is composed of seven pieces.
Each of these piece is called a tan.
One of the piece is a square, another piece is a rhomboid, and the other
five pieces are isosceles right triangles of various sizes. Of these
triangular pieces, two are small size triangles, one is a medium sized
triangle and and two are large size triangle. The area of a
large size triangle is twice the area of the medium size triangle.
The area of the medium size triangle is twice the area of an small size
triangle. The area of the square is also twice the area of an small size
triangle. The area of the rhomboid is the same as that of the square.
All the angles in these pieces are either 45, 90 or 135 degrees. Making
a tangram set from a piece of square board is easy.
The instructions for playing tangrams are simple
and very easy to understand. The objective of the puzzle is to form
a figure using the tangram pieces. People find this seven-piece tangram puzzle
fascinating and delightful because there are a large variety of ways of putting these
pieces together. Using one's own creativity, various tangram figures
may be formed. In fact, thousands and thousands of designs have been created over the years
by just rearranging these seven tangram pieces.
Using Tangrams for Teaching
Geometry and Fractions.
Tangrams can be used as a good teaching tool for teaching
Geometry and Fractions. Students can form various Geometric shapes using
tangram pieces. They would also learn the ratios and relationship of each
pieces to another during the process.
Teaching Geometry Using Tangrams
Teaching Fractions and Ratios
Read these stories as the children solves the tangram
The Story of a Crow and a Bottle
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
The First Christmas
Weighing an Elephant
Other interesting facts about Tangrams
The tangram pieces may be rearrange into various figures and
designs. These designs not only include simple geometric shapes shown below, but
also shapes of different animals, such as birds, dogs, and cat. The
designs also include numerous other shapes of popular objects.
As can be easily noted, various simple polygonal shapes
may be formed from seven basic pieces. Some of the simple polygonal shapes
resulting from rearraging tangram pieces include the following:
Perhaps, the Chinese had in their observations that the seven
basic tangram pieces were the basis of the formation of various simple polygons,
and therefore can be used to form numerous other shapes and extraordinary
Also to be noted is that the shapes of each of the seven
tangram pieces may be formed from the seven tangram pieces, although resulting
in a larger size version. This means that each of the seven tangram pieces
may further be subdivided into a set of the seven smaller tangram pieces.
One of the popular books on Tangrams is the "Eighth Book of Tan" by
Sam Loyd, an american puzzle expert. This book contains around 700 tangram
patterns. Lyod called this the "eight" book because he claimed
that about four thousand years ago, a Chinese name Tan had compiled seven books
Convex Tangram Shapes
The polygon patterns from tangrams shown above are convex
shape patterns. In a convex shape, such as those shown above, a line
segment drawn from any point on the edge or within the shape to another point on
the edge or within the shape will always be within the shape. In 1942,
mathematicians proved that there are only 13 possible convex tangram patterns.
Six of there were shown above.
Solve these Tangram puzzles:
Tangram Puzzle of the Day
Solutions to Tangrams
Brain Teasers and Puzzles
Making Your Own Tangram Set
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