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.
Need extra help for EL students? Try the Composing Shapes pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
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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.

  • 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.
(5 minutes)
  • Explain that when shapes are put together they can make up bigger, different shapes, or even pictures.
  • Show the class a tangram and go through how to solve it while it is on display for the class to see.
(10 minutes)
  • Have students practice making different shapes by putting different geometric shapes together with a group.
  • Show students the Plane Figures worksheet and explain how to complete it.
(20 minutes)
  • Pass out tangrams to students and allow them to complete the puzzle.
  • When students have finished their tangram, and checked it with you, give them a Plane Figure worksheet to complete.

Enrichment: Have students use the advanced tangrams work pages. Alternatively, these students can complete more than one tangram.

Support: Have students partner up with another student and work together on the beginners tangrams.

(5 minutes)
  • Students will be assessed by the shapes they create using the tangrams and their completed worksheet.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students share different shapes they made with the tangrams.
  • Ask the class for any final questions they may have.

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