Working On My Tangram: The Prime Radicals (Season 2)
Catalogue Number: GAP074
Producer: GAPC Productions
Subject: Canadian Social Studies, Mathematics, Social Studies
Grade Level: 3 - 5, 6 - 8
Country Of Origin: Canada
Copyright Year: 2013
Running Time: 15:00
Kevin and Alanna find a some what frustrated Uncle Norm struggling with a jigsawpuzzle. “I know if I press hard enough this piece will fit.” He tries to bang a wrong piece into a spot. It just doesn’t fit! As it happens Kevin has a project for class and he’s chosen to focus on a very different kind of puzzle, a Chinese puzzle called a tangram. It’s not the same as a traditional jigsaw puzzle, but pretty cool. Instead of fitting the pieces together in only one way, the seven tangram pieces can be arranged to make a great number of different figures. And Kevin wants to do something really fun so he has written a little play telling his version of the story of the tangram. With Alanna as a princess and Uncle Norm portraying a befuddled emperor, we have some fun acting out the story. In the end, well...it all fits.
The Gist: In this episode, tangrams are used to provide students with the opportunity to use a manipulative set that has inherent mathematical qualities. Using tangrams can help students develop spatial skills by moving the pieces around to create vivid images. This provides opportunities to use and talk about several different related geometric shapes—an experience that can help students become more intuitive about geometry. The tangram pieces are related by area. The rules for tangram puzzles are quite simple: you must use all seven tans, they must lay flat, they must touch, and none may overlap. The episode also uses tangrams as a multicultural experience for students and illustrates an interdiciplinary connection with literacy.
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