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Explore the World of Tangram Puzzles with These Amazing Resources

Tangram Puzzles: A Creative Way to Learn Shapes and Geometry

Do you like puzzles? Do you enjoy playing with shapes? Do you want to improve your spatial reasoning and problem-solving skills? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you might want to try tangram puzzles. Tangram puzzles are a fun and educational way to explore shapes and geometry, and they can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. In this article, we will explain what tangram puzzles are, how they originated, what they consist of, and what benefits they offer. We will also show you how to make your own tangram puzzles, how to solve them, and where to find more resources and examples.

What are tangram puzzles?

Tangram puzzles are a type of dissection puzzle that involves using seven flat polygons, called tans, to form different shapes. The tans are usually a square, a parallelogram, and five right triangles of different sizes. The objective is to use all seven pieces without overlapping or leaving gaps to replicate a given pattern or silhouette. The patterns can be anything from animals, plants, letters, numbers, symbols, or abstract designs. There are countless different shapes that can be created using the seven tans, and some of them are very challenging to figure out.

tangram puzzle

The history of tangram puzzles

Tangram puzzles are believed to have originated in China sometime around the late 18th century or early 19th century. The word "tangram" is derived from the Chinese word "qiqiaoban", which means "seven boards of skill". The puzzle was popularized by a book titled "Ch'i chi'iao t'u", which contained hundreds of tangram patterns. The book was widely circulated in China and abroad, and soon the puzzle became a craze in Europe and America. Many famous people, such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Edgar Allan Poe, Lewis Carroll, and Benjamin Franklin, were fans of tangram puzzles. The puzzle also inspired many artists, mathematicians, educators, and scientists to create new patterns, explore geometric properties, and use them for teaching and learning purposes.

The components of tangram puzzles

A standard set of tangram puzzles consists of seven pieces or tans that can be arranged into a square. The pieces are:

  • A large square with an area of 4 units

  • A medium-sized right triangle with legs of 2 units each

  • Two small right triangles with legs of 1 unit each

  • Two large right triangles with legs of 2 units and 2 units

  • A parallelogram with sides of 1 unit and 2 units

The pieces can be rotated or flipped over to form different shapes. However, they cannot be overlapped or left out when forming a pattern. The pieces can also be combined to form other polygons, such as rectangles, hexagons, trapezoids, or rhombuses.

The benefits of tangram puzzles

Tangram puzzles are not only fun but also beneficial for various aspects of cognitive development. Some of the benefits are:

  • They enhance spatial awareness and visual perception skills by requiring the recognition and manipulation of shapes and orientations.

  • They foster creativity and imagination by allowing the creation of original designs and patterns.

  • They improve logical thinking and problem-solving skills by requiring the analysis and synthesis of information and strategies.

They promote mathematical learning by involving concepts such as geometry, symmetry, area, perimeter, fractions, angles, congruence, similarity, transformations How to make your own tangram puzzles

If you don't have a ready-made set of tangram puzzles, you can easily make your own using some simple materials and tools. Here is what you need and how to do it:

Materials needed

  • A square piece of cardboard, paper, wood, or plastic. The size can vary depending on how big you want your pieces to be, but a good option is a 10 cm x 10 cm square.

  • A ruler and a pencil to measure and mark the lines.

  • A pair of scissors or a knife to cut the pieces.

  • Some paint, crayons, markers, or stickers to decorate the pieces if you wish.

Steps to follow

  • Draw a diagonal line from one corner of the square to the opposite corner. This will divide the square into two equal right triangles.

  • Draw another diagonal line from the other pair of corners. This will divide the square into four equal right triangles.

  • Draw a line parallel to one of the sides of the square that passes through the midpoint of the opposite side. This will divide one of the triangles into a smaller triangle and a parallelogram.

  • Draw another line parallel to the same side of the square that passes through the midpoint of the adjacent side. This will divide another triangle into a smaller triangle and a square.

  • Cut along the lines you have drawn to separate the pieces. You should have seven pieces in total: a square, a parallelogram, and five right triangles of different sizes.

  • Decorate the pieces as you like. You can use different colors, patterns, or stickers to make them more attractive and distinguishable.

Tips and tricks

  • You can use different materials to make your tangram puzzles more durable or flexible. For example, you can use cardboard for a sturdy set, paper for a foldable set, or plastic for a washable set.

  • You can also use different shapes to make your tangram puzzles more interesting or challenging. For example, you can use a circle, a hexagon, or an octagon instead of a square as the base shape.

  • You can make multiple sets of tangram puzzles and mix and match them to create more combinations and possibilities.

How to solve tangram puzzles

Now that you have your own set of tangram puzzles, you can start solving them. There are many ways to find and create tangram patterns, but here are some general tips and guidelines:

Types of tangram puzzles

There are two main types of tangram puzzles: silhouette puzzles and outline puzzles. Silhouette puzzles show only the shape of the pattern without any details or markings. Outline puzzles show the shape and the boundaries of each piece within the pattern. Silhouette puzzles are usually harder than outline puzzles because they require more trial and error and imagination. Outline puzzles are easier because they give more clues and hints about how to place the pieces.

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