In Mathematics, we have come across different types of diagrams, charts, shapes and puzzles. The tangrams are old Chinese puzzles. From the pieces of the tangram, we can make many shapes of animals, people and things. In this article, you learn about tangrams, tangram meaning, how to make a tangram with 7 pieces along with examples.

Let’s understand what are tangrams in math at first so that you can easily understand how to make different shapes with the help of this concept.

What is Tangram?

The tangram is an operation puzzle consisting of seven flat polygons, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The main objective of making tangrams is to replicate a shape by giving only an outline in a puzzle book with the help of all seven pieces without overlap. Alternatively, to generate unique minimalist patterns or designs that are either recognized for their inherent artistic values or as the foundation for challenging others to replicate its outline, we can use the tans.

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Tangram History

Industrialist Friedrich Adolf Richter first introduced tangrams around the 18th century to the German public. The sets were made out of stone or false earthenware and marketed under “The Anchor Puzzle”. More globally, World War I saw a remarkable resurgence of attention in tangrams on the homefront and trenches of both sides. It was performed under the name of “The Sphinx”, an alternative name for the “Anchor Puzzle” sets.

How to make a Tangram

In this section, you will understand the procedure for making a tangram with the given 7 pieces.

The classic rules that are applied to make tangrams include:

  • All tangram pieces (or tans) must be used
  • All the pieces must lay flat
  • All these pieces must touch and none may overlap while forming a shape

By following the above conditions, we can form various tangram pictures such as:

  • Geometrical shapes
  • Animals
  • Birds
  • People
  • Objects (houses, vehicles, and so on)
  • Letters, Numbers and Symbols

Let us consider the tangram set given below. It is a tangrams square with five triangles, one square and one parallelogram. Based on this design we can make various kinds of objects and shapes.

Tangram with 7 pieces

This is a picture of a seven-piece tangram. We can cut out these pieces and put them together in different ways to make some fascinating shapes (also called tangram shapes), as shown below.

Tangram Birds

Tangram bird

Fig 1. Tangram bird

The above figure shows the shape of a bird that is formed from the 7 pieces given out of a square. The above tangram bird is one of the possible shapes that we can form in the shape of birds.

Tangram Swan

Fig 2. Tangram Swan

Figure 2 is the shape of a swan that is formed from the seven pieces of a square.

Tangram of Animals

Tangram of animal

Fig 3. Tangram Animal

The figure 3 represents the tangram animal image that is formed from the tangram square given above.

Tangram Rabbit:

By rearranging the seven pieces that have been cut from the square, we can get the shape of a rabbit as given below.

Tangram rabbit

Tangram house

By rearranging the seven pieces that have been cut from the square, we can get the shape of a house as given below.

Tangram house

Tangram shapes

Apart from the above specified shapes, we can also form different shapes such as lotus and other shapes. The below figure shows the formation of a lotus from the square’s pieces.

Tangram shape

However, it is possible to form several tangram images from the given seven pieces of the square.

Tangrams puzzles

Try making the following tangram pictures based on the given tangram design.

Tangram puzzles

  1. Rooster
  2. Cat
  3. Horse
  4. Fish
  5. Bear
  6. Elephant
  7. Rectangle

Visit byjus.com to learn more about tangrams and related topics. Also, download BYJU’S – The Learning App to get interactive videos on math and science concepts.

Frequently Asked Questions on Tangram


What are the 7 shapes in a tangram square?

The Tangram square is a deceptively simple set of seven geometric shapes made up of 5 triangles (i.e., 2 small triangles, 1 medium triangle, and 2 large triangles), a square, and a parallelogram.


What are tangrams used for?

Tangrams can educate students about spatial relationships. They may help students learn geometric terms and develop problem-solving skills. They might even allow students to perform better on tests of basic geometric shapes.


How many 4 sided shapes are there in a tangram square?

There are two 4 sided shapes in a tangram square, and they are square and parallelogram.


What do tangrams mean in math?

In maths, Tangram is a Chinese puzzle made by splitting a flat square into five triangles, a square, and a parallelogram capable of being recombined to create several different pictures.


Can tangrams overlap?

No, the tangram pieces should not overlap. They can only touch each other.


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