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Shape Makers

Shape Makers

Shape Makers is one of a large family of dissection puzzles which challenge students to assemble a series of smaller shapes to form larger ones. Tangrams, which gained popularity in the early 1900s, are perhaps the most common kind of dissection puzzle. In Shape Makers, four squares and eight triangles must be reassembled to create a large square, a large triangle, a parallelogram, and a trapezoid. While the main task is fairly simple, it has many possibilities for more challenging extensions.

The second student sheet provides some of these extensions, showing three additional irregular shapes which can be created using the 12 puzzle pieces. Once students discover how to make these shapes, they are challenged to create some shapes of their own and record them. These student-created shapes can be traded with classmates so that students can try to solve puzzles that their friends have created. This gives the students more ownership of the puzzle and gives extra incentive to try and create a shape that will stump others in the class.

Activity Page

The squares and triangles below can be cut out and rearranged to form the four geometric shapes shown at the bottom of the page. Cut out the 12 pieces and reassemble them to form these four shapes. Make a record of each solution.



Once you have solved the puzzle and made the four regular geometric shapes, try to make the three irregular shapes below using the same pieces.


Draw your solutions.

What other shapes can you make with your puzzle pieces? Draw a picture of two more shapes you can create below.


Click the arrow below to view the solutions.

In Shape Makers the challenge was to rearrange the shapes given into several regular and irregular figures. One possible solution for each figure is given below.


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