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  • In this activity, students assemble a tangram as a square and then reassemble the tangram incorporating an additional piece they are given. Parallels are drawn to particular aspects of the nature of science.

    Use the activity as:

    • part of a unit on the nature of science
    • part of a unit on innovation and invention – the need to collect (and fit) aditional information while creating and working with prototypes, or
    • a component of an existing science programme.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • use this tangram activity as an analogy to describe aspects of the nature of science such as the tentative nature of scientific knowledge
    • explain several courses of action scientists may take when confronted with an unexpected finding
    • give one real-world example of the tentative nature of scientific knowledge.

    Science is a way of trying not to fool yourself.

    Richard Feynman, 1974

    Download the Word file and Tangram template PDF for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • extension ideas.


    Reprinted with kind permission from Jason Choi.

    Related content

    Nature of science – introduction curates many of the Hub's nature of science (NoS) resources. Use the resources to unpack this strand of the New Zealand Curriculum and show NoS in action.

    Use Scrambled sentence as a follow-on activity. Students try to assemble a meaningful sentence by successively turning over a set of word cards.

    Useful link

    Understanding Science is an educational website for teaching and learning about the nature and process of science. It has an interactive flowchart that represents the process of scientific inquiry, with links to relevant teaching and learning resources.

      Published 7 October 2011 Referencing Hub articles
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