Quilt Pattern Designs

Math and Social Studies

Grade Level: First/ Second
Teacher of Lesson: Mary Beth Martin

Introduction/ Background:

Throughout our study of quilts we have been learning the names of the different patterns, how they got these names, and looking at the arrangement of shapes that make up the pattern. This lesson looks specifically at two patterns and focusing on follow a template to recreate the pattern and arrange the shapes correctly. The introduction and instruction will be given at the class meeting, but the activity will be carried out at a center.




  1. To introduce the lesson, read the description page about the Shoo-Fly pattern and the Basket-weave pattern from Eight Hands. This will give some background information as to what the design is and how it got its name. Before reading, you could let students predict possible names and reasons from just looking at the pattern.
  2. Give instructions to the whole group, and modeling how to do this might be necessary if this is their first time at this activity. (My class did a more simple ABA pattern, using only squares, so they are familiar with this type of pattern making.)
  3. To make Shoo-Fly students will need to choose six squares of one color to be their A and three squares of another to be their B.
  4. Two of the A and two of the B will need to be cut into equal triangle. do this by folding one corner over to the opposite corner and fold along the diagonal. Cut along the folded line.
  5. Once all pieces are cut, glue down the triangles and squares, following the pattern instructions. On this pattern in each corner the triangles are turned different directions, so students need to pay close attention to where A and B goes, along with rotating to the right positions.
  6. When complete they will have a Shoo-Fly block.
  7. Follow the instruction sheet to make the Basket-weave pattern. In this pattern all five of the A squares and all five of the B squares will need to be folded and cut into equal rectangles.
  8. Completed sets of quilt patterns can be arrange to make a bulletin board that looks like an entire quilt or individual student patterns can be put into a book with descriptions of each pattern.


Both objectives will be evaluated by looking at their finished quilt pieces. I will be checking to see if the A and B colors are in the right place, triangles and rectangles were made accurately by folding method so they will fit together, and if the shapes are positioned correctly. If the arrangement is not correct, I will look at the pattern with the individual, asking if they see a difference between theirs and the template. If so they will be asked to fix it. If they do not recognize the difference then we will discuss it and work on the arrangement together.

Re-teaching/ Extension:

  1. If students have trouble making or arranging the shapes the activity can be done with pattern blocks. These may be easier than paper for some students to manipulate and their arrangements are not permanent, so having to make changes or corrections is less stressful, which leads to more opportunities for success.
  2. There are many other quilt patterns that this activity can be done with. A nice extension would be one that combines all three shapes: triangle, squares, and rectangles.
  3. Students could also design their own patterns, make corresponding instruction sheets, and then trade with someone to make the pattern.

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