6 Interactive Online Tangram Manipulatives

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Just like a tiny memory card holds a lot of data, a set of 7 shapes may create almost anything. Yes, we are talking about tangrams. This Chinese-originated puzzle eventually turned into a well-liked option for young ones to play with their imagination and learn about shapes at the same time. 

A digital version of tangram may be a convenient option. Some educational websites provide a platform to operate and play with these seven shapes for free due to which these online options may be a value-adding choice for learners. To share these in detail, we here listed out some handy online tangrams for you. 

Tangram- An admirable option for young learners

Tangram is an interesting and simple set of seven distinct shapes, of course geometric. This set includes two small triangles, one medium triangle, two large triangles, a parallelogram, and a square. These seven pieces arranged in a planned format may be laid out into various meaningful arts and shapes like a cat, hen, and a person. With this value, it may ensure a few serviceable benefits:

  • Students can effortlessly identify and classify various shapes. While there are three different shapes that may be individually identified, strategically placing them together  can configure yet more shapes too.
     
  • Children ensure better spatial rotation and other relationships. While creating a figure out of the tangram, the student may need to rotate the pieces to fit them in place. Brainstorming about the right orientation of these parts may assist them towards finer spatial and rotational abilities over time.
  • Learners may realize that geometric figures can be decomposed. Most often, tangrams come arranged to form a square. This way, right from inception, students comprehend how shapes are disintegrated. Eventually, they learn how to create newer shapes. 

Why virtual tangrams?

Digital pedagogies like games, classes, and activities are growing their significance as they are just a click away from kids on electronic devices. The same is the case with virtual tangrams too. The online tangram manipulatives can be freely accessed from websites, while physical versions need to be procured. 

Further, with multiple options to choose from, pupils can access distinct versions of tangrams at ease. For instance, the color theme may vary from one option to another, ensuring freedom of options to choose. 

Instructors, too have been finding it handy to use virtual tangrams to teach in the classroom. Research done by Patrica S. Moyar[1] on virtual manipulatives used by K8 teachers found that along with physical ones, these mentors also used digital versions of tangram and other manipulatives. It was also outlined that virtual options were often employed to teach the main portion of the concept. These reasons show the significance of online tangrams. 

Online tangram manipulatives- For facile practice anywhere

1. Mathigon

Mathigon

The tangram tool offered by Mathigon is serene and easy to use. The screen starts with the seven pieces arranged to form a square. The users drag, play, and create shapes as they like. The tool is adorned with features like polypad, courses, activities, and lessons on top of the screen. Clicking on the polypad, the students can access more shapes. At the bottom of the screen, a number of shapes are provided. The learner can refer to these shapes to play as well. Another edge is that the pupil can change the color of the tiles with a brush option provided. 

Moving the Shapes: Moving the shapes in this tool is easy; the student needs to hold the piece and drag wherever they want. 

Rotating the shapes: When the user chooses a tile, a dot is depicted beside it; the pupil can hold it and drag it to either side to rotate it as needed. Moreover, an option to flip the tile is provided at the bottom of the screen, making the task easy. 

Scope of Gameplay: The tool offered by Mathigon can be used to create a game or activity on demand too.  The pupil can choose one of the shapes given below as a challenge to complete. To store the arrangement, the learner can also save it as an image. 

2. Toy Theater Tangram

Toy Theater Tangram

This online tangram manipulative is one of the handy tools provided by the site apart from area and volume learning block tools. 

 An easy-to-use interface, the screen starts with all the shapes neatly arranged at the bottom of the screen; the pupil can move and do activities as they may prefer. In case there is confusion, the learner can press the refresh button on the bottom of the page to rearrange the pieces to the initial position. On the top of the screen, a number of reference shapes and figures are provided, which the student may prefer to mimic. 

Moving the Shapes: The user can move each shape by holding and dragging them in any direction as desired. New users may need to be careful as these shapes may also rotate as they are dragged.

Rotating the shapes: There is no separate option to rotate; the user can preferably hold the edge and drag either side to change their orientation. This may take some time to learn; later, this feature may turn handy.

Scope of Gameplay: The user may choose to use this to get induced activity or game replacing the manual version. 

3. Tangram Online 

Tangram Online ne 

This tangram tool may provide premium attire with its wooden background and contrasting shapes. At the inception, the users can find their tangram neatly arranged on the left side. They can move and practice as they need without any restrictions. Other handy features include a timer at the top-left side of the screen, puzzles to choose from, and playing guidelines. While employed, the pieces turn black for a glance to depict what shape has been formed with that movement, assisting students in discerning it better. 

Moving the Shapes: Puil can hold and drag the shape to either side to move it effortlessly. 

Rotating the shapes: Here, there is no special option to rotate the pieces. The learners may just tap on the pieces to see them rotating clockwise by 45 degrees. Accordingly, they can tap multiple times till it reaches the desired orientation. 

Scope of Gameplay: This option may be an eminent option for gameplays. With options like timer, puzzle selection, and a few settings, the page can be converted into a game in no time. 

4. MathsBot

MathsBot

This tranquil tangram comes with a clean white background and pieces arranged at the left side of the screen. Mathsbot may stand out for some students for the handy buttons at the top of the screen. These include tidy, scatter, delete, and a couple of rotate buttons. Pressing on tidy, the pieces get rearranged into squares. A scatter button with random spread these pieces over the screen. Rotate buttons may be used to rotate them on either side. A distinct feature of this tool is that a user can make a copy of a shape, thereby letting them access any number of shapes and not just seven. Other options include the delete button to delete unwanted and options to change the colors of the tiles. 

Moving the Shapes: Leaner can hold and drag the shape to either side to move.

Rotating the shapes: Students can use the rotate buttons on the screen or can use ‘z’, and ’x’ keys on the keyboard for convenience on a laptop. 

Scope of Gameplay: With limited features related to games, it may be used with an external timer and other requisites. The distinct feature is that the sizes of the shapes can be changed at convenience. 

5. Tangram Browser

Tangram Browser

This is a two-in-one tool that can be either used for practice or gameplay. The screen starts with a virtual tangram set on the left and a reference figure on the right side. The user can use these pieces as per their taste. The site is light and thereby can be easily loaded and handled. 

Moving the Shapes: The learner can hold and drag the shape to move it on either side. Otherwise, they can also use four buttons provided to move at the bottom of the screen.

Rotating the shapes: There are a couple of buttons available for rotating the pieces on either side, making the task facile and controlled. 

Scope of Gameplay: As this tool is a mix of a tool and game, there is room for activities and games. The learners can choose to form various shapes like sharks, rockets, and Antelope, which may need more than one set too. 

6. Gieson Library

Gieson Library

The screen starts with scattered tangram pieces and a small window that contains references and a few other particulars. Learners can either choose to randomly use these pieces or replicate the shape as depicted in the small window. Being a project work, this tool is light and easily usable. Nonetheless, the glitch is that the shapes are blacked out, and their colors are fixed. 

Moving the Shapes: The user can hold and drag the shapes to move either side

Rotating the shapes: This tool has no option to rotate, probably because it focused on creating the figure shown. 

Scope of Gameplay: The tool may be used for gameplay, and it comes up with all needed options. If the player is trying to create the shape shown, they may click on the CHEAT button to get a hint. Further, there is a timer to assist faster recreation and a PAUSE button to pause the tool. Each puzzle rightly solved gives out 1000 points. 

Summing up,

Manipulatives in real life showed significant support to little learners. Nevertheless, online options may offer an additional set of edges like the convenience and better accessibility. The above-mentioned options may be the best available tools right now. Try opting for one of these and start relishing the marvel of technical innovations in education. With these manipulatives in hand, it’s time for you to list out some tasks.

References:

  1. Moyer, P. S., Salkind, G., & Bolyard, J. J. (2008). Virtual manipulatives used by K-8 teachers for mathematics instruction: The influence of mathematical, cognitive, and pedagogical fidelity. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 8(3), 202-218.

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