Literature Connection:

Grandfather Tang's Story, by Ann Tompert

Mathematical Strand:



Students will recognize, describe, and perform transformations (rotation/turn, reflection/flip, and translation/slide) on two dimensional shapes.

Grade Level:


Lesson Created by:

Toni Haddock, Eugene Field Elementary, Manhattan, KS

Lesson Description:


  • Grandfather Tang's Story, by Ann Tompert, tangram shapes, copies of tangram animals from the story, grid paper, transparent grid paper,

1. Launching the Lesson (engage): Initiate a discussion about tangrams. Find out if students have ever worked with them. Read the story to the class. Show pictures slowly and enjoy the story.

2. Developing the Lesson: Give each student a tangram pattern. Allow time to carefully cut out the pieces. Practice moving pieces as a class labeling the transformation. Make copies of the various tangram animals. Partners sit side by side with tangram on graph paper. Partners give each other directions for making tangram animals using transformation vocabulary. They start with the pieces in the square shape, then give directions for transforming it into the tangram animal. Graph paper should help students line up figures. It is a good idea for the teacher to do one on the overhead with the whole class first.

3. Closure/ Discussion/ Elaboration: After partners work together, allow time for the class to discuss difficulties. Which words seem more difficult to perform or recognize? (slide, flip, turn, or translation, rotation, reflection) As an assessment students could label the transformations on a tangram animal.

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Copyright 2001 S.Ma.R.T.Books and Kansas State University