Keeping Us in Stitches Activity: Hexagon Quilt Top Design
Purpose: to help students understand how the hexagon shape can be a building block in patterns for
quilt tops (and other art forms)
Objective: students will be able to design radially symmetrical or bilaterally symmetrical color patterns
by planning and coloring in the hexagon graph paper after studying the hexagonal-pieced quilts of
Bertha Stenge and Albert Small.
Illinois State Museum Web site used:
http://www.museum.state.il.us/vrmuseum/muslink/art/htmls/
ks_piece_hex.html
Materials: hexagonal graph paper printed out from
Web site (can also be
bought at stationery shops)
http://www.museum.state.il.us/vrmuseum/muslink/art/htmls/
ks_piece_hexact.html
crayons, colored pencils, or markers
sketch paper pattern ideas
Motivation: Students can

view the above-mentioned quilts and discuss their sources for color, shapes, and designs
(such as oriental carpets, tiles, plates)

discuss the symmetries involved in these designs, and how they differ from the designs of
other pieced patterns.

practice a small design online in the hexagon unit of pieced quilts.
Procedures: Students will

sketch ideas for their design on paper. Two-inches square is a good size for trying several
ideas.

choose a color scheme.

transfer these ideas to the graph paper by coloring in the appropriate hexagons in the
chosen colors. The center is a good starting point.

name the final design.
Publication and Closure: Display the hexagon-pieced designs with a label of name and maker, and an
artist's statement about the work (e.g., what inspired it, why the color scheme was chosen, the meaning
of the design)
Assessment: The student design should be radially concentric by color, with leeway for exceptions
of bilateral symmetr y. Students should be able to identify both symmetries.
Illinois State Board of Education Goals and Standards addressed;
Visual Art:Goal 26: Through creating, learn how works of art are produced. (all levels)
Mathematics: Goal 9: Use geometrical shapes in practical settings. (general)
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Hexagon unit
Time Required: 15 min. Web examples, 30-40 min. drawing
Grade Level: 2-6