Schiro, M., Casey, B. & Anderson, K. (2002). Tan and the shape changer. Chicago, IL: The Wright Group/ McGraw-Hill.

This description of the book is excerpted from the article written by Casey, B., Kersh, J. E., & Mercer Young, J. (2004). Storytelling sagas: An effective medium for teaching early childhood mathematics. Early Childhood Research Quarterly: Special Issue on Mathematics and Science, 19, 167-172.


"Tan and the Shape Changer increases understanding of part-whole relationships. Grandmother Wei Lung, a Chinese dragon puppet, tells about Tan, a young boy in ancient China, who carries a tabletop made by his father, a master carpenter, to the Emperor of China. Tan must carry the tabletop a long way. He grows tired and accidentally drops the tabletop, which breaks into two equal isosceles right triangles. Tan and the children discover they can reassemble the triangles to make the square tabletop. By investigating this one base shape in depth across a range of lessons, the children start to understand the mathematical properties of that shape and how it can be combined and taken apart

at increasingly higher levels of complexity. A shift comes at the end when the story moves on to solving 3-dimensional cube puzzles. As the children help Tan solve the problems in the book, they achieve the NCTM geometry standards, by investigating and predicting the results of putting together and taking apart shapes, making slides, flip, and turns with shapes, and predicting the effect of transformations on shapes."

Comments from the classroom:

"The children were incredibly motivated to master the challenge of Tan's Tri-Puzzle Hiding Game (Math Activity 3A). They became very proficient at visualizing a shape in their minds and then reproducing the shape using only their sense of touch."



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From Tan and the Shape Changer



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Here are Sample Activities for You to Use


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