Plan #11 - Quilting With Quadrilaterals
By Timothy J. Cody
quilt has and continues to play a very important role in the lives of
the Native American people. Their culture holds the star quilt as a
symbol of many things and the quilt itself offers many learning opportunities
for the High School students of today and the future. It allows many
different curricular disciplines the chance to include the star quilt
into teaching concepts and other educational skills.
from the following areas could be made to include lessons involving
the star quilt: Art, Social Studies, Language Arts, Consumer Science
and Mathematics. These are only a few to be highlighted with this lesson
For students to understand and learn connections between the star quilt
and various things in their every day life. In particular, the applications
of the making of the quilt and its patterns with the connection to geometric
figures and their properties in Mathematics.
Depending on the discipline, unit could run from 2-3 weeks.
With the star quilt, instructors of Art could have students examine
patterns of the quilt to include topics relating to: symmetry, blending
of colors, and designs creating their own star quilt patterns.
With the star quilt study, teachers of the Social Science classes could
include guest speakers from the Native American community to speak on
the symbolism of the star quilt and how it is used in giveaways as well
as part of the Native American dance costumes. Also how the star quilt
became part of the Native American history.
With the study of the star quilt, the Language Art instructors could
utilize many opportunities for writing and speech lessons. Reports could
be written describing how to make, how to design a pattern, what the
symbols of the quilt represent and the history of the quilt just to
name a few topics for writing lessons. Also utilized could be journalizing
of various efforts in classes that include the star quilt in its lessons.
Speeches could also be written and presented in class using the same
topics as the writing assignments.
With the star quilt, teachers of Consumer Science may choose to bring
in Native American quilt makers and demonstrate techniques of making
quilts. Also to be discussed could be the economic aspect of selling
quilts for profit. Students then could be given an assignment to create
their own star quilts with perhaps use as fundraisers or personal items.
With the star quilt, Mathematics teachers may take advantage of opportunities
by introducing topics of Geometry involving all quadrilateral figures;
in particular the rhombus. Properties would include the perimeter, area,
and diagonals as well as similar and congruent properties of triangles.
Trigonometry would also be utilized as well as algebra to find values
of missing parts of diagrams. Also included could be the study of properties
of parallel lines and transversals. Properties involving angles and
more algebra could be utilized in conjunction with the Geometry Sketchpad
software programs on computers. Some work with compasses and protractors
could also be included in lessons.
Mathematics teacher perspective, the following materials and equipment
could be utilized: TI graphing calculators to be used with trig functions
and properties of triangles; protractors, compasses and rulers could
be used for hands on activities to create the geometric designs found
in the star quilts; computers with geometry drawing utilities could
also be used in this instruction. Any Geometry book and worksheets could
supplement the math knowledge required for the properties examined with
the star quilt designs and patterns.
With these exercises the standards could be met in the following ways:
Students will be able to take problem situations with geometric models
and apply properties to the various figures; students will classify
figures in terms of congruence and similarity and their relationships;
students will be able to deduce properties and relationships of figures
given various assumptions; students will be able to translate deductions
of figures to a coordinate system and properties of translations involving
star quilt patterns which include expansions of similarity and congruence;
students reasoning skills will be increased with studies of properties,
graphs, spatial contexts and inductive and deductive patterns; students
communication skills will be increased with writing assignments included
in the study of the star quilts and positive group work on projects
with constructions with both computer and hands-on materials; and students
will increase problem solving skills with directed teacher discoveries.
In all the following Standards could be covered in some fashion: mathematics
as problem solving, mathematics as communication, mathematics as reasoning,
mathematical connections, algebraic mathematics, geometry from a synthetic
perspective, and geometry from an algebraic perspective.
specifics of lessons may not be highlighted, many opportunities and
ideas are given for teachers of the various disciplines to utilize the
Native American star quilt in a number of curriculums. Individual freedoms
are given to instructors to create from resources of their choosing.
A variety of methods of assessment could also be utilized in many manners
from journals and written reports to worksheets and tests. Many group
work and hands-on activities could also be used in the variety of assessment