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  Lesson Plans
Sew, You Want To Quilt?

Angela Villegas
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
Time Alloment
 Three 45-minute class periods


Recycling was very important to the first settlers in early America. Because fabric and supplies were scarce, every bit of cloth was salvaged. Scraps of fabric from worn out or outgrown clothing were saved and used to make patchwork quilts. These scraps or shapes of fabric were arranged in patterns to create borders and designs throughout the quilt. History can be told through quilts as they are passed down through generations within families, keeping cultural traditions present.

In this lesson, students will become familiar with the achievements of the artist Faith Ringgold, an African-American artist from New York who uses quilts as her painting canvas. Students will take notice of the patterns in their environment. Students will connect the mathematical concept of patterns to create a class quilt. Students will examine video clips and Web sites that show the creative process in creating a quilt and the importance of the use of patterns in this process.

Learning Activities

Students will be able to:
  • Identify patterns in the environment
  • Create an original pattern using geometric shapes
  • Choose a theme or story to create a class quilt
  • Explain the aesthetic qualities of Faith Ringgold's paintings


United States Math Standards for grades 3-5

Use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling to solve problems.

United States Art Standards for grades K-4

Content Standard #4
Know that the visual arts have both a history and specific relationships to various cultures.

Content Standard #5
Understand there are various purposes for creating works of visual art.

New York State Learning Standards for Mathematics and Art

Discover patterns in nature, art, music, and literature.

Actively engage in the processes that constitute creation and performance in the arts (dance, music, theatre, and visual arts) and participate in various roles in the arts.

Make use of the materials and resources available for participation in the arts in various roles.


Respond critically to a variety of works in the arts, connecting the individual work to other works and to other aspects of human endeavor and thought.

Develop an understanding of the personal and cultural forces that shape artistic communication and how the arts in turn shape the diverse cultures of past and present society.

Media Components


Cyberchase #107: Poddleville Case

African-American Artists #8: Faith Ringgold Paints Crown Heights

African-American Artists #12: Faith Ringgold and the Last Story Quilt

Web sites:

Cyberchase Online
This Web site offers activities for all Cyberchase episodes, including problem-solving games in subjects such as fractions, tangrams, symmetry, and patterns. This site also offers "free stuff" for your computer, e-cards that can be sent to other computers, and a weekly poll where students can submit their opinions on various topics. Each episode is reviewed and reinforced daily.

Faith Ringgold Web Site
This Web site contains a variety of information on the artist. It has a personal approach, making the viewer feel as though they are contacting Faith Ringgold directly. This site includes the artist's biography, an interactive song with words and music, and works in progress. You can take her "Faith Test," a conceptual study of race and color in America. There is also a gallery of her artwork.


Per Student:
  • Quilt Design Sheet
  • Rulers
  • Crayons or markers
  • Unlined white paper