I’ve teamed up with Alli over at Made With HAPPY to bring you kids crafts from around the world!
As a middle level teacher I am constantly looking for ways to make my lessons more fun! The curriculum for 6th grade history here is Washington state is ancient. As in ancient history. For each unit we cover I try to create at least one fun art project to go with it. The last unit I taught was ancient China and it happened to coincide with the start of the Chinese new year. This gave me the perfect opportunity to create a fun lesson on tangrams! Do you remember tangrams? I didn’t before this unit. So I’ll refresh your memory.
A tangram is a dissection puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes, called tans, which are put together to form shapes. The objective of the puzzle is to form a specific shape (given only an outline or silhouette) using all seven pieces, which may not overlap. Sound easy? Well it’s not always. I found these awesome Chinese new year animal tangram shapes and an idea was born. I started by filling in the lines between each piece so that the puzzle would be a little harder for the kids to figure out.
I started off by printing each of the animals onto different colors of card stock. I then labeled each piece of card stock with it’s corresponding year. I have 51 students this year so we went WAAAAY back in time to get each student their own animal. I also wrote a characteristic associated with each animal on the side of the card stock.
The students started by cutting out the seven tangram pieces and solving the puzzle. When they had successfully solved the puzzle they glued the pieces down on top of the black. Then they cut the whole thing out. Now this was the trickiest part because some of those pieces (I’m looking at you tail!) were held on by just a teeny tiny corner. I gave them two different options to solve this, they could either cut that part a little thicker OR they could cut it as it was and use a piece of tape to strengthen the connection.
Once the whole thing was cut out they took a thick black marker and wrote the year on one side. Then they flipped it over and wrote the characteristic on the other side. Once all 51 students were finished we punched a hole in the top of each animal and strung them chronologically on a string. We then hung that string across the ceiling of my classroom.
To add a writing component to this project once they were all up they had to find their birth year and animal. They then had to write down the characteristic from their animal, find all the matching animals and write down all those characteristics. They then had to explain why or why not they felt those characteristics applied to them.