My 7th grade students were working with Brad Fulton’s tangrams 1-8 from his book and today was SUPER TANGRAM day! When you do this one the A square is equal to 1, and the task is to find the value of the other squared relative to A. Here are some pictures of the kids working:
We (my Student Teacher and I) walked around “supervising” and basically not answering any questions, and listened to what the groups were saying. Here are some of the comments we heard: Wait, I think I’m doing this wrong…I’m so confused…Wait, wait, I get it!… 2 R’s are in a T and 2 F’s are in an R, so how much did we say R was? … WAIT! I was on the brink of discovery!…It can’t be 3/16 because H is too big for 16ths – oh wait, that makes sense… U is 1/2 of – SHHH I want to figure it out!…This is easier than the others…Wouldn’t 2 C’s be a B?…(A student draws a line through a shape) So D equals 2 C’s! What about E? (Draws another line) Yeah! E is 2 C’s also! So it’s 1/2, yeah, 1/2 of A…We’re color coding it so we know how many of each we have.
It was so cool listening to them thinking and sharing – but not “telling” the answers to each other. (One boy did “tell” the answer when I had asked a girl a question, I looked at him and said, “thanks for telling the answer.” He said, “now you made me feel bad.” I said, “yeah, and you made her stop thinking!” He’s a good kid, and I think he got it.) On the down side – we had done a big decimals/fractions/percents chart last week as an intro to this unit and talked about how it’s handy to know certain conversions. Blah, Blah, Blah. Part of the work today was to find the fractional part, then also the decimal and percent equivalent. The students had to find the value of the Super Tangram, and add their fractional parts to make sure they equaled the total they came up with. Anyhow, one of the students asked me “is there a way to turn a fraction into a decimal?” The fraction was 3/4. I said, “ask your table mates”. Then added, “we did do a whole sheet on decimal, fraction, percent conversions last week.” She said, “oh yeah.”
Overall it went really well, I highly recommend you getting his book and doing all of the tangram problems (as well as other activities!). We’ll see how well it really went tomorrow, when they come back!