Tangrams

by

Greg Huberty

A tangram is a puzzle that shows how seven particular pieces that make up a standard square can be moved and rotated top form other interesting shapes that have a particular property in common. Do you know what that property is? Think about it for a while and it will probobly come to you.

The seven pieces that are given are two small triangles,

two larger triangles,

a square,

a parallelogram,

and a medium sized triangle.

The sides of the pieces have very particular lengths. There are four distinct lengths. See if you can generalize these lengths for any sized tangram puzzle.

The basic shape of the tangram puzzle is the square. The challenge is to use these seven shapes to make a square. If you would like to try click here.

By rotating the two large triangles you can create a small square with relative ease.

But this unfortunately will not help you make the larger puzzle. Instead, these two large triangles need to be put together to form an even larger triangle.

This leaves the other five pieces to make the other large triangle. If you would like to stop now and try it yourself with this hint, click here.

The next piece that is important to place is the medium sized triangle because it is the largest remaining piece.

Now the job is left to fill in the alley between the pieces given. (Want to try now? Click here.)

Placing the parallelogram at the top between the two triangles gets you started.

Next place one of the small triangles upside down next to the parallelogram followed by the square.

Finally, place the remaining small triangle into the space left and you are done!

There are endless tangram shapes that you can make from animals to airplanes to people. Here are some you can try. Each on has a minature of the shape on the screen to guide you. If that is not enough, there is a help screen that you can use that gives you an outline of the shape that you can physically put the pieces into. Then if you are desperately stumped, there is a (probobly not the only) solution that you can look at to show you just how easy it really was.

Good luck! You may proceed now.