# Blog

## LET YOUR CHILD BE AN EXPERT IN MATHEMATICS WITH TANGRAM PUZZLES

*February 25, 2016 @ 3:34PM By Martin Reinhold *

Tangram is a 7-piece puzzle with geometric shapes called “tans”. It originated in China and has become popular in the early 1800’s in the Western world.

The tans are made up of 2 large right triangles, 1 medium right triangle, 2 small right triangles, 1 square, and 1 parallelogram. These pieces should be arranged in such a way that the pieces do not overlap and must touch each other. The tans can be rearranged in a number of ways to create silhouette patterns of geometric figures or different shapes of animals, objects, or people. This is why tangrams are incorporated in mathematics because they are fun, interesting, and educational.

Studies show that kids, even preschool children, can easily learn and be proficient in mathematics. The 2 important areas that the children need to learn are number and geometry. Children learn faster and effectively through play and a tangram is one of the best tools that your child can use.

The kids are able to learn mathematical concepts of fractions, spatial sense, geometry, and perimeter. Spatial sense is one’s awareness of his/her surrounding and the objects in them. A strong sense of spatial relationships can develop a child’s understanding of number and measurement.

Tangrams help children learn through a hands-on and minds-on attack in a problem-solving environment the children can explore and manipulate the pieces and try to solve how to arrange them correctly to create a meaningful shape. The children can also learn the relationship of shapes and how the 3 basic shapes – triangle, square, and parallelogram – fit together to form other figures.

Tangrams are a great way to learn mathematics because the children find it interesting. They also tend to create their own designs enhancing the imagination skills. It encourages the child to take risks because the child knows that there is more than 1 correct way of doing it.

Children are naturally curious, so solving a puzzle like tangram can arouse curiosity, hence they will be engaged in the activity.

## These Fun, Free Exercises Can Improve Your Child’s Chess Game And Understanding Of Algebra

*June 8, 2015 @ 4:23 pm by **Martin Reinhold*

We prepared a set of fun math exercises inspired by the way pro chess players calculate every possible move during a game. Download these fun, free math exercises and introduce your child to the point system of chess, while getting a first stab at algebra.

You probably know that chess players often sacrifice their own pieces in a game, if they stand to win one or more of the opponent’s pieces in the process.

But did you also know that they use a specific point system to help them assess whether the exchange of pieces will leave them in a better or worse position?

Each chess piece has its own point value indicating the strength of the piece, so by comparing the point value of the pieces they stand to win to the point value of the pieces they stand to lose, they can make a quick decision as to whether to pursue this option versus other options. This obviously involves thinking several moves ahead. So they might decide to sacrifice two of their own pieces in exchange for just one of the opponent’s pieces, if the combined point values of the pieces still fall in their favor.

Experienced chess players have probably internalized these calculations to a point, where they instinctively know whether a certain move would be beneficial or not. But anyone new to chess will need to consciously do this math as they are considering their next move.

Doing math with a non-numeric object could be compared to a very simple type of algebra. Granted, the “objects” have constant (and not variable) values, but the notion of solving math problems by assigning a number value to an object requires a small shift in thinking to the untrained mind not unlike that needed for understanding the basic principles of algebra. It introduces an obstacle that can bring the mind’s internal calculator out of its comfort zone until it has become familiar with this simple point system.

In reality there are different theories about which point values that most accurately express the strength of each chess piece, but hey, this is not an article on chess theory. The most widespread method goes back to the 18th century and can be described as the 1/3/3/5/9 system, which indicates the values assigned to the chess pieces.

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