Tangrams were invented in China approximately 200 years ago

A tangram is two-dimensional and is a re-arrangement puzzle created by cutting a square into seven pieces or five pieces.

It has been one of the most widely recognized dissection puzzles in the world since the 19th century and has been used for various purposes including amusement, art, and education.

In this short lesson, we will learn about the tangrams, tangrams shapes, tangrams puzzle, how to use tangrams.

Check out the interactive simulations to know more about the lesson and try your hand at solving a few interesting practice questions at the end of the page.


Lesson Plan

What Is a Tangram?

A tangram is a Chinese puzzle that is made by cutting thin materials into five triangles, a square, and a rhombus. These seven structures are capable of being recombined to form several shapes. These shapes can be pictures, letters, or numbers.

Types of Tangrams

Tangrams could be of two types:

1. Seven-piece tangram.

2. Five-piece tangram.

tangrams type


A Brief History on Tangrams

Tangram patterns are invented in china by "fredrichadlofrichter" called in china "Chin-Chiao Pan" meaning an intriguing seven-piece puzzle in the Tang Dynasty.

Tangram puzzles originated in China, they are thought to have traveled to Europe in the 19th century on trading ships during the tang dynasty.

Tangram puzzles were popular during World War I.

Tangram patterns have also been described as psychological tests.

Early Chinese mathematicians manipulated geometric shapes in their problem-solving. A technique that is still active in classrooms for educational purposes, inter alia, through the use of tangrams.

tips and tricks
Tips and Tricks


The rules of tangrams are 

  • Tangrams must have all seven pieces.
  • All pieces of tangrams should be kept flat on a surface. i.e not vertical.
  • All pieces of tangrams should touch each other.
  • All pieces of tangrams should be arranged in such a manner that they should not overlap each other.
  • Pieces can be rotated and can be flipped to make the desired shape.

Why Do We Use Tangrams?

Like building blocks, tangrams can develop problem-solving and logical thinking skills, perceptual reasoning, visual-spatial awareness, creativity, and many mathematical concepts such as congruency, symmetry, area, geometry, and perimeter they help kids learn geometric terms and develop stronger problem-solving abilities. They might even help children perform better on tests of basic arithmetic.

There are over 6,500 shapes and pictures that can be created using a tangram puzzle.

Challenge your math skills
Challenging Questions
  • Can you make a horse using a 7-piece tangram?
  • Try to make a house from tangrams.
  • Make animal from tangrams.

Solved Examples

Example 1



Becky wants to know how we can use tangrams. Can you solve her query?


Tangrams can be used for various purposes like developing problem-solving and logical thinking skills, perceptual reasoning, visual-spatial awareness, creativity, and many mathematical concepts such as congruency, symmetry, area, geometry, and perimeter.

Example 2



What are the seven shapes that make up a seven-shaped tangram?


The tangram is a  simple set of seven geometric shapes made up of five triangles (two small triangles, one medium triangle, and two large triangles), a square, and a rhombus

\(\therefore\) seven shapes of tangram are triangle, square, and, parallelogram.
Example 3



What are tangram squares? What do you know about tangram squares? Can you help Sam, who is trying to understand the concept? 


Tangrams is a traditional Chinese puzzle which is made up of a square cut into seven pieces (one parallelogram, one square, and five triangles) and they can make a different design according to their arrangements.

When all 7 pieces combined together, they form a square which is called a tangram square.

\(\therefore\)  7 pieces combined to form a tangram square

Interactive Questions

Here are a few activities for you to practice. Select/Type your answer and click the "Check Answer" button to see the result.


Let's Summarize

The mini-lesson targeted the fascinating concept of the tangram. The math journey around tangram starts with what a student already knows, and goes on to creatively crafting a fresh concept in the young minds. Done in a way that not only it is relatable and easy to grasp, but also will stay with them forever. Here lies the magic with Cuemath.

About Cuemath

At Cuemath, our team of math experts is dedicated to making learning fun for our favorite readers, the students!

Through an interactive and engaging learning-teaching-learning approach, the teachers explore all angles of a topic.

Be it worksheets, online classes, doubt sessions, or any other form of relation, it’s the logical thinking and smart learning approach that we, at Cuemath, believe in.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do you make tangram squares?

Step 1: Make use of a pencil and ruler, follow the diagram, and layout the square of plywood.
Step 2: Saw the plywood into the seven shapes shown. In each piece sand the top, bottom, and edge.
Step 3: Apply the finish of your choice.
Step 4: Finally, tangram is complete.

2. Are tangram pattern blocks are the same?

Tangrams are geometric puzzles that include 2 large triangles, 1 medium triangle, 2 small triangles, 1 square, and 1 parallelogram. Often these students benefit from pattern blocks and simpler activities before advancing to tangrams.

3. What do tangrams look like?

A tangram is a puzzle that includes two big triangles, one medium triangle, two small triangles, one square, and one parallelogram.

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