We presented an afternoon program on Tangrams last week. The program was aimed at the kindergarten to third grade group, but we always get a range of ages from toddlers to middle school. In order to demo the tan shapes to a large group, we needed something larger than our usual flannel board. My colleague, Christine LeMieux, came up with this.
She ducted taped together three foam core boards and covered them with a large piece of grey flannel, also using duct tape. She made loops and a base from duct tape at the back of the boards, through which to slide a metal ruler. This kept the uber-flannel board upright (leaned against our regular flannel board stand).
She made the tans from cardboard covered with construction paper. Because of their weight, they needed multiple pieces of Velcro to attach to the flannel board. I thought Chris had made an error because the parallelogram had Velcro on both sides. Then as I practiced making the tangrams, I realized that that was the only shape that needed to be turned over as well as rotated to form some of the tangrams.
During the presentation, I read the book Grandfather's Shape Story by Brian Sargent while my assistant rearranged the tans to form the shape from the story. Of course, it took longer to arrange the tangram, so I had to flesh out the story a bit. I then paused and announced the finished shape with a flourish to get applause from the audience. This is the candle.
We had brightly colored tans cut for each child and a number of puzzle shapes available for them to try to solve. There was a sheet of solutions available. Here is the source we used.
If you were presenting the program to a small group, you could make the tans out of felt and use a regular sized flannel board. Tangrams are a great way to talk about shapes.