Lesson Plan

Terrific Tangrams!

Introduce your class to composite shapes with this lesson that reviews geometric shapes and makes use of tangram puzzles. This lesson will give your students a strong base for learning geometry later on in their school careers.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Composing Shapes pre-lesson.
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Need extra help for EL students? Try the Composing Shapes pre-lesson.

This math lesson introduces first graders to composite shapes in a fun way, with the use of tangrams! A composite shape is made up of two or more shapes, and a tangram is a geometric puzzle consisting of many different shapes. An array of tangram cards is included for children to build shapes and patterns, which is a great way to strengthen fine motor skills. This lesson provides young learners with a review of two-dimensional shapes, and an introduction to composite figures, both of which are important concepts that are fundamental to learning geometry.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will review basic geometric shapes and learn about composite shapes.
The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments


(5 minutes)
  • Review the names of geometric shapes with students. Either show students plastic shapes and have the class name them or draw and label the shapes on the board. Shapes should include rectangle, triangle, circle, hexagon, square, and trapezoid.
  • Describe tangrams to the class as a picture puzzle that is solved by fitting different shapes together.


  • Ask students to name things in the classroom that are different shapes. For example the clock is shaped like a circle, and the window is shaped like rectangle.
  • Review the defining attitributes of shapes by asking students to show you on their fingers how many sides different shapes have.
  • Show students examples of different puzzles.


  • Create an illustrated word bank of shapes and shape names as a class. Discuss the defining attibutes (such as straight sides, number of sides, and number of corners) of each shape in the word bank.
  • Tell students to turn to a partner to describe a shape using the sentence frame, "A ________ has ________."