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Lesson Plan: Quilting with Fractions


Lesson Plan: Quilting with Fractions

Students will explore shapes and patterns in this lesson about quilting and geometry.

Class: 3rd Grade

Duration: Two class periods, 30-45 minutes each


  • white paper cut into 9 x 9 squares
  • smaller colored squares 3 x 3 and 1.5 x 1.5
  • glue
  • graph or grid paper for homework
  • a selection of quilt books from the local or school library

Key Vocabulary: square, quilt, pattern, area, fraction

Objectives: Students will use paper quilt squares to identify fractional parts of the whole.

Standards Met: 3G.2 Partition shapes into parts with equal areas. Express the area of each part as a unit fraction of the whole. For example, partition a shape into 4 parts with equal area, and describe the area of each part as 1/4 of the area of the shape.

Lesson Introduction: Using the books from the library, show students several pictures of quilts. If possible, bring a quilt in. Have students identify patterns, colors, shapes they see.

Step-by Step Procedure:

  1. Read aloud from one of the quilt books in the classroom.

  2. Discuss the various shapes in the quilts. Ask the students, "What shapes do you see? How do they fit together? What are your favorite designs?"

  3. Tell students that their job today is to make a quilt square with smaller squares, using some kind of quilt pattern - their own pattern, or one that they find in a book or on a website. Good examples of simple quilt squares that students could replicate are:
  4. This activity will be more efficient if done in small groups, but be sure to set behavioral expectations before putting the students into their groups. Students should be expected to share the materials and keep the materials on the desks or tables.

  5. Hand small groups a baggie of squares.

  6. Have students glue these on their white square. They should create a pattern without overlapping the squares. No white space should remain when they are finished.

  7. If time allows, close the lesson on the first day by asking students to do a walkabout and view each other's quilt squares.

  8. The next day, conduct a short review of fractions. If I have three apples and you take one, what fraction of my apples have you eaten? If I have a cookie in four parts and give you one of them, what fraction of the whole have you taken?

  9. Students will now use their quilt squares to identify fractional parts of the whole. For example, there are nine squares in your quilt square. How many are red? (One.) What fraction of the whole square are red? (One ninth) Continue asking students about their quilt squares.

Homework/Assessment: Students should draw and color another quilt square using graph paper and between three to five different colors.

Evaluation: Notes should be taken during the students' classwork, in case reteaching needs to happen at a later date. After students have done their homework, the homework can be assessed for understanding of the lesson objectives, and an additional assessment can be conducted by asking students to trade their homework squares and identify fractional parts of the whole.

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