Unit Overview: Many Cultures under One Quilt

Aim: How can we apply geometric concepts to make quilt blocks of our heritage? Objectives: Students will explore polygons, triangles, and similar and congruent figures. Students will identify different types of line segments and explore quadrilaterals and line symmetry.

Grade Levels: Fourth-fifth

Number of 60-Minute Periods: Seven math periods and five social studies periods Source: Teacher-created concept; Scott Foresman-Addison Wesley Math Grade 4; The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio Geometric Design in Ohio Quilts

NCTM Principles

Teaching and Learning, Access and Equity, Curriculum, Tools and Technology, Assessment NCTM Standards

Geometry: Analyze characteristics and properties of two-dimensional figures. Apply transformations and use symmetry to analyze mathematical situations. Use visualization, spatial reasoning, and geometric modeling.

CCSSM Standards

  • 4.G.A.I. Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.
  • 4.G.A.2. Classify two-dimensional figures based on the presence or absence of parallel or perpendicular lines or the presence or absence of angles of a specified size. Recognize right triangles as a category, and identify right triangles.
  • 4.G.A.3. Recognize a line of symmetry for a two-dimensional figure as a line across the figure such that the figure can be folded along the line into matching parts. Identify line-symmetric figures and draw lines of symmetry.

NCTM Processes/CCSSM Mathematical Practices

• Problem Solving

SMP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

• Reasoning and Proof

SMP2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

SMP8: Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

  • • Communication SMP6: Attend to precision.
  • • Connections

SMP1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

• Representation

SMP4: Model with mathematics.


  • • Recognition of common polygons, parallel and perpendicular lines, types of triangles (by sides and angles)
  • • Use of a ruler and graph paper
  • • Recognition of similar and congruent figures, geometric transformations of translation, rotation, and reflection
  • • Formation of geometric patterns, particularly along a line of symmetry

Mathematical Concepts: Students apply their knowledge of geometry to design and to produce a quilt block illustrating their research about their family's country of origin. Students explore congruent figures, symmetries, and transformations of translation, rotation, and reflection.

Materials and Tools

  • • Per student: ruler, graph paper, assorted colored pencils and markers, construction paper, Internet access.
  • • Per class: samples of quilts

Management Procedures

  • • Prepare sample quilt blocks consisting of a variety of geometric figures and relationships for students to analyze.
  • • Engage parents to assist students with research on the family's ethnicity.
  • • Provide time in the school day for students to use the Internet for research.

Assessment: Circulate to observe and question students' work. Use the rubric to assess students' identification of geometric shapes and relationships.


National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME): An organization committed to issues of equity, inclusion, diversity and justice in schooling (http://nameorg.org).

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