Lesson Plans:
Quilt Squares

Subject(s)/Grade(s): Civics and Economics, 10; U.S. History, 11
Related Subjects: Appalachian Studies

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will be exposed to the history of quilting and the symbolism of quilt patterns.
  2. Students will use their knowledge of quilting to create a visual review of information they have learned in their academic class. 

Teacher Planning

  • This lesson can be completed in 1-2 class periods.
  • The teacher will need to familiarize him/herself with the Craft Revival website and locate information on quilt patterns.
  • The teacher will need to prepare the construction paper and supplies.
  • The teacher will need to decide on review topics and group arrangement prior to the lesson.
Materials/Resources

  • Internet access to the Craft Revival website
  • Images of quilt square patterns and explanations of their symbolism
  • Construction paper cut into 8½” X 8½” squares
  • Assorted colors of construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Textbook and class notes
  • Computer Lab

Procedures

  1. Students will use the website to learn about quilts and the symbolism in the quilt squares.
  2. The teacher will lead a discussion of the symbolism and its meaning by showing examples of different quilt patterns.
  3. The teacher will then divide the class into small groups.
  4. Each group will be given a specific review topic. For example, in a U.S. History class reviewing for the EOC (End of Course) test, the groups could each be given a time period in American History. Or, groups could be given a topic within a time period, such as battles during the Civil War. In a Civics class, groups could be given topics such as the Legislative Branch, Criminal Law, or Bill of Rights.
  5. Each group will discuss what the most important points are about their review topic and collaborate on ways to symbolize those points.
  6. Using construction paper, scissors and glue, the group will construct a quilt square symbolizing their review topic.
  7. The group will need to make a key that explains what each part of their quilt square symbolizes and why they chose that symbol.
  8. Each group will present their quilt square to the class and discuss the symbolism.
  9. The class will assemble the squares into a “quilt” for display on their classroom wall.

Assessment:

  1. Students will share their stories in small groups, then with the class.
  2. Students will be evaluated in part on how well they understand their subject-related topic (i.e. branches of government)
  3. Students will receive credit for their translation of the topic to symbols and for their creation of a symbol “key.”
  4. Students will be further evaluated on how well they convey the rationale to support their chosen symbolism both in writing and oral explanation.

North Carolina Curriculum Alignment

  • This lesson can be used to review any of the Civics and Economics or U.S. History competency goals.

Bibliography:

  • Johnson, Geraldine N. “Plain and Fancy: The Socioeconomics of Blue Ridge Quilts.” Appalachian Journal 10, no. 1 (Autumn 1982): 12-35.
  • Library of Congress, American Memory Project: Quilts and Quiltmaking in America. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/qlthtml/qlthome.html
  • Roberson, Ruth Haislip, ed. North Carolina Quilts. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.
  • The Underground Railroad “Quilt Code” http://www.ugrrquilt.hartcottagequilts.com/

-Submitted by Denise Davis, History Department, Franklin High School, Franklin, North Carolina