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Here students use the “Art of Geometry” to create actual 9-patch quilts


Art, Math  


5, 6, 7, 8  

Title – The Art of Geometry – Nine Patch
By – Leslie O’Brien
Primary Subject – Math
Secondary Subjects – Art
Grade Level – 5-8

To increase knowledge in the area of geometry and visual arts by creating quilt squares

Prior to Lesson:
It is best to cut all of the squares to save time, put the students’ squares in their bag ready to hand out, thread should be cut before project – 18 inches long, parent volunteers are needed as well, it would be nice to include community quilters to help


      1. Discuss quilts with the power point. Include the purposes of quilts and how math and art are in quilts.

      2. Discuss what a nine-patch block looks like.

      3. Discuss how some quilts have patterns. Have students define the word pattern.

      4. Have students create patterns with square tiles or squares cut out from construction paper.

      5. Have students vote on a favorite pattern. Everyone will use the pattern chosen.

      6. Have students select their own group members and decide upon a theme and colors. Limit the colors to two.

      7. Discuss how much material will be needed to purchase at the store. If each square has to start out 4 ½ by 4 ½ inches, and each student will need nine squares, how much material is needed of each color? Explain to the students that ¼ of an inch overlaps when sewing, which results in the square’s ending measurements to be 4 inch squares. The nine-patch block will be 12 inches in length and height.

      8. Take the students’ request of colors and themes to a local quilt shop or store that sells fabric. I would purchase extra in case of a mistake when cutting out squares. At this time also purchase thread and needles for the students. It is also helpful to purchase quarter inch quilter’s rulers to mark sewing lines on the fabric.

      9. Send a letter home to parent requesting volunteers.

      10. Check with the local quilt stores, churches, or parents to find experienced quilters. It would add a nice community involvement activity.

      11. After purchasing the material, cut squares to be 4 ½ by 4 ½ inches and cut thread to be 18 inches long.

      12. Once squares are cut, pass out plastic baggies and have students put their names on the front.

      13. Lay squares on a table and have students one at a time come and pick out their 9 squares. Have the students place their baggies in a basket designated for their group.

      14. Arrange desk in groups of 12 or 9. Label each group a number for organizational purposes. Place group’s basket in the middle, which should contain: thread, baggies of student’s material, needles, quarter inch quilter’s rulers and pencils to mark sewing lines.

      15. Depending on your volunteers, you can demonstrate and instruct in small groups or large groups. ( I was lucky enough to have many volunteers and so we instructed in small groups)

      16. Instruct students on how to thread a needle. Teach students how to knot the thread at the end. (There are many ways. Most of my quilters did it differently.)

      17. Students need to mark their sewing lines. Have students lay out the top row of squares facing printed side up. Take the right square and flip it on top of the middle square. The backside of the right square should be on top. Using the quarter inch quilter’s ruler and pencil, place the ruler on the right edge of the flipped over square. Using the pencil, mark a line showing ¼ inch from the edge.

      18. Once the sewing line has been marked, have students pick up their thread and needle. Remind students to keep the material together just as it is. Explain to the students that they will be sewing in an up and down pattern on the marked line. Starting on the edge of the fabric, have the student stab the needle down through the material on the sewing line. Pull the needle all the way through. Have the student stab the needle up through again 1/8 of an inch away from the last stitch. Let students know that there should be 8 to 10 stitches per every inch of fabric.

      19. Once the student has sewn across the entire line, show students how to knot the thread at the end.

      20. Have students gently pull apart their squares to see the seam. Have the student place the squares back on their desk facing up. Students should have two blocks sewn together and the left block remaining.

      21. Flip the left block onto the middle block. The back side of the left block should be facing up. On the left edge, mark the sewing line.

      22. Using the same technique, sew the blocks together.

      23. Continue to do this procedure for all three rows. Once they are complete, the rows must be sewn together.

      24. Lay all three rows facing up on the desk. Flip the top row onto the middle row. The backside of the top row should be facing up. Using the ruler, mark the sewing line at the top of the flipped over row. Sew the rows together.

      25. Once finished, place the material back on the desk facing up. The top row and the middle row should be connected. Flip the bottom row onto the middle row. The backside of the bottom row should be facing up. Mark the sewing line at the bottom of the flipped over row. Sew the rows together.

      26. This should complete the nine-block square.

    27. The teacher or a quilter can then sew the block together to make the quilt top. (The quilters volunteered to quilt our blocks together and fancy them up. We ended up with 11 quilts that were donated.)

Web Resources: Real World Use:
If student ever need to fix clothing or make clothing, this activity would help. It is a great hobby for students to do. They can create purses, quilts to pass down to their children, baby blankets, table runners, jackets, and so much more.

material, needles, thread, rulers, pencils, plastic baggies, scissors

Power Points and worksheets I created for this can also be obtain if contacted!

E-Mail Leslie O’Brien !

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