Is Math your favorite subject when you were a kid? If not, I guess you’ve experienced scratching your head to see some geometry problems as I do, but it shouldn’t be like that if we were not intimidated by a complicated subject like that.
In this blog post, let’s explore how a simple game can capture kids’ interest in a complex subject like Math.
Can we use Tangram to elicit students understanding?
Tangram can elicit students’ understanding of spatial reasoning, geometry, analytical thinking and enhance their creativity. In playing tangram, their learning circuit is stimulated to work side-by-side by hand and eye coordination, making it an excellent tool for developing children’s brains.
Students learning development is like building a pyramid. As their teacher, you need to know how to guide your students to develop their foundation. The stronger the foundation is, the more learning they will get as they grow old.
We cannot expect our students to learn complex topics if they don’t know the basics in the first place.
Their learning foundation should tickle their curiosity to know the answer to their “what.” What questions are answerable by specific items that don’t require any complex way of reasoning and thinking.
If we relate this in using tangram as a learning tool, the “what” question would be: What is tangram? From there, they will start to look for answers, and learning will develop along the way.
It’s like a domino effect. If one force of motion is exerted to a block, it’ll transfer it to the next one and so on.
How do students learn nowadays?
In this era of the digital age, most students learn via a digital platform. So it can be by using graphic presentations, interactive activities, video lectures, and many more. Previous strategies like textbooks and oral presentations still work for some students. Still, it is now highly suggested to mix it up with other digital tools for an enhanced learning experience.
You see, the process of learning is different from one person to another. Some learn on their own; some learn when they’re in groups, some use other gadgets, some learn through experience and many more.
The common thing about children’s learning development is proper guidance.
A helpful teaching guide will help them to be on track with their goals.
I want to emphasize the word “guidance” in this context. You see, we all learn in different manners. Therefore, we cannot impose an all-for-one teaching strategy because it won’t work either way.
In guiding our students to their goals, they need to use their way of learning. This would be their personalized approach to finding out things based on the guideline you will give.
For example, I am a teacher, and I told you to create a flower using tangram. If you’re the type who likes to work independently, you would probably discover how to make one by yourself. On the other hand, if you wanted to do it with others, you would probably roam around to have somebody to work with you. Either way, flowers will still be formed, and the teacher’s goal was achieved.
Tools for students learning development vary. One best example that can be used is tangram.
Tangram is another type of dissected puzzle, like a jigsaw puzzle. Both aim for the same thing, which is the completion of the whole image.
The catch is that a jigsaw puzzle can only create a whole image printed on it, while a tangram can generate more ideas than a jigsaw puzzle as long as “tans” are connected and do not overlap.
The jigsaw puzzle was used to teach kids about geography, while tangram was used to introduce basic geometry.
Isn’t it amazing that simple puzzles like these can serve as kids’ base knowledge towards complex ones?
Effects of puzzles on students learning mainly to lessen their intimidation on things that seem to be complicated.
Let’s look deeper at geometry as an example.
Geometry is a branch of mathematics that focuses on how shapes may work as an object itself, their relationship with other figures, how much space it can occupy, and many more.
Now, tangram is an excellent tool to introduce this topic to kids in a fun manner.
Usually, a tangram is composed of 7 figures only. You can use these figures in any way that you want, providing that all of them are connected and not overlapping. You can flip it over, angle it in different ways, and many more.
With these practices, students will learn how things will work based on their angles, symmetry, transformation, congruence, similarity, and many more.
In my own experience, I find it hard to understand how mathematical equations work. All I know is, it’s full of unknown numbers and letters that I don’t know where they came from. It feels like I am looking for some hieroglyphic code from outer space.
It may seem to be an exaggerated way of expressing how math affects me, but this is how I feel about math.
The only way for me to understand complicated mathematical equations is to see them visually and how they work in real life. Tangram is an excellent way to understand the “what ifs” and “how come” questions I have in mind.
The process of learning varies from one person to another. Some may learn best on their own; some work best when they work with others, some know visually, some need experience or handling of things to understand how they work.
Tools like tangram is a great way to introduce intimidating topics like geometry to kids. In this way, they will see it as a fun way of solving math problems and can go about it as the subject gets more interesting.
Capturing the interest and curiosity of kids is necessary to create a solid foundation to love learning and the process of learning itself.
Are you interested in tangram?
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