Quilting has been prominent throughout the western settlement of the United States. In addition to
the patterns being handed down, it is the tradition of community activities like quilting bees and
barn raising. Quilting represents thrift, recycling, and family feelings. Many of your students' fami-
lies have a quilt somewhere in their family history. There are many children's literature books (on
the Print Resources
list) that relate cultural history and tell a story at the same time.
Quilts can be a stimulus for writing stories, essays, and reports about quilts, family, culture, feelings,
and events. Students can keep a journal of their quilting-making project. Individuals can bring a quilt
to school and relate its history in relation to the members of the family (from written drafts).
Geometric quilt patterns are a good way to practice the skills of measuring angles, figuring square
inches and feet (and estimating yardage), and using fractions. Students can look at various geometric
quilt patterns online and in quilting books (see resources sections) for inspiration or modeling and
draw their own pattern on graph paper. They can then measure and mark the angles that a quilter
would need to know in order to make templates and cut fabric. Quilters would estimate yardage
needed for batting and backing and binding by arranging multiple blocks on a grid, adding borders,
and figuring out the final dimensions.
Grade Level for Activities Some Real-Life Examples
The developer of the quilting activities is a quilter who has taught quilting to elementary students
age 6 to 12 in the museum and in a classroom in the last three years.
The geometric quilt design activity was written for and
tested by a second grade class who visited the museum.
They toured a quilt show for 45 minutes, talking about
geometric shapes in quilts and about art quilts. Then for 45
arranged patterns of pre-cut squares and triangles of
fabric onto a paper grid and glued down the final
worked with their table of 6-10 students a pattern for
a small quilt top of their squares and glued them to
The teacher plans to add it to her yearly quilting unit.
A group of girls, age 6 to 8, made appliqué wall quilts with
fusible web and an iron. This method works faster than
sewing for all ages. Outline quilting stitches can be sewn
around the edges of the motifs later on. (photo