Skip To Main Content

Logo Image

Logo Title

Magician Tangram Creations

Purpose: to provide visual/spatial problem-solving through the manipulation of tangrams and to

  • Assess visual memory
  • Assess spatial skills
  • Reinforce metacognitive awareness

Concepts Introduced:

  • Geometrical shapes are two and three dimensional and can be composed to create new shapes.

Materials needed:


  1. Show students one tangram tile or have them pick one up and read them the following story:

This is the legend of Gram, the Chinese tilemaker, who made a most beautiful tile that everyone wanted to buy. However, Gram decided to take it as a gift to Emperor Tan, who lived in the Forbidden City. A great wall and a cobblestone walkway surround the Forbidden City in China. As Tan was walking into the open gates of the Forbidden City to meet Emperor Tan and give him his gift, he slipped and fell on the cobblestone; the tile flew out of his hand and broke into 7 pieces.  Gram was upset. When he saw Emperor Tan approaching him he was scared for his life because he had destroyed the Emperor’s great gift. The Emperor walked near Gram. At the same time, a child who was trying to help Gram put the pieces of the tile back together shouted out that the pieces looked like a bird.  Emperor Tan looked down as the child moved the pieces again and someone else said the pieces looked like a teapot. This went on for a while until it intrigued the Emperor who invited Gram into the Forbidden City to move the 7 tile pieces around and make different pictures. This became a pastime for the Emperor who named the new magic puzzle a Tangram after himself and the tilemaker Gram. The 7 pieces of the tangram are still a favorite pastime of the Chinese children and other children around the world.

Activity 1:

  1. Explore with manipulatives. Give each child the set cut apart set of Max’s Magic Tangrams ( worksheet) or the actual tangrams.
  2. Ask student which different geometrical shapes they see in the set of 7 and explain that one is a parallelogram which is parallel on each side … like a train track.
  3. Give student time to make different designs. Put Max together with the pieces as well.
  4. Explain that making a picture with the tangrams requires that each piece must touch another piece and that the pieces may not overlap or sit on top of another one. Model and discuss touching and overlapping pieces. … such as two small triangles can make a square or a parallelogram or a medium triangle.
  5. Strategy : Always place two large triangle first in each puzzle before other pieces.
  6. Have students make tangram designs on the first and second Tangram Design worksheets for practice. Help student make if needed. Encourage.

Activity 2:

  1. Ask student to try making the 4 tangrams in the A Friend for Max/A Present for Max and A Tangram Bird/A Magic Hat worksheets. Help and encourage student. Assist and remind of not overlapping pieces. 
  2. If necessary, you (the adult) may review the Answer Keys to tangram puzzles.

Activity 3: Challenge

  1. Very challenging ! Have student try to complete the Leave One One Challenge worksheets with tangrams. Assistance will be needed most likely to solve. Facilitate and encourage.
  2. Use the following sites to practice tangram puzzles online. Search other sites your child can work through as well.


  • Discuss the parallelogram in the tangrams set and find others as you visit stores, look around the house, etc. and reiterate why it is called a parallelogram.
  • Talk about geometry with your child and why shapes are a very important part of our lives.