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Quilting Connections



  • Arts & Humanities
  • Social Studies
    ----U.S. History


  • Pre K
  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8

Brief Description

Students research online an influential woman, then create on the computer a quilt block with text and graphics. Quilt blocks are then printed and combined to form a quilt of connections.


Students will:
  • Demonstrate comprehension of a famous woman's accomplishments through both text and graphics.
  • Acquire knowledge of other women's accomplishments through their peers' quilt blocks.


women's history, quilt

Materials Needed

  • Student access to a computer with Internet access and a drawing program (AppleWorks, Microsoft Paint, or even TuxPaint, a free open source program)
  • European American Quilting Traditions
  • Butcher paper, tape, scissors
  • Color printer

Although research for this project can be done using books and other printed materials, the following grade-appropriate resources are available online.

Lesson Plan

Help your K-8 class celebrate Women's History Month with this research and drawing project.

Note: This lesson can be modified for any grade level from K through 8 simply by changing the information students must research and write about.

Before beginning the lesson, open the drawing software (see Materials Needed above) and create a large rectangle with a black border, but no fill color. Make the rectangle big enough to fill most of an 8 " x 11" piece of paper without spilling over the edges. Click Print Preview (in Appleworks, click File>Print, and then click Preview; in Microsoft Paint, click File>Print Preview) to make sure the rectangle fits.

Save the rectangle to your Desktop or Documents folder as a template with the name "quiltblock." (When you click File>Save in most programs, you will see an option under File Format to save it as a template. Be sure to change the location to which you're saving the rectangle to Desktop or Documents; it will try to save it in the Templates folder, which is hard to find.) Finally, put the rectangle file on each student computer, or save it to a floppy or to the server so students can access it later. The quilt block template will ensure that students' drawings are a uniform size.

Note: If you're using TuxPaint for K-2, don't worry about the rectangle. Just let them draw, then print and cut out the picture to fit.

Start the lesson by asking students to name famous American women in history and explain what they did to become famous. Tell students that they are going to research a famous American woman and then create a quilt block illustrating that woman's achievements. The blocks will be attached to one another to form a quilt that will be displayed _____. (You pick the location -- in the classroom, the hallway, the cafeteria, the office.)

Make sure students understand what a quilt is. To illustrate that a quilt is made up of many connected pieces, show your students some of the quilts at European American Quilting Traditions.

Next, follow the steps below to help students create a quilt block about Shirley Chisholm.

  • Go to Enchanted Learning's Biographies of Great African Americans.
  • Scroll to Shirley Chisholm's biography and read it aloud. Ask students to share facts about Shirley Chisholm they learned from the reading: K-2 students should provide two facts; three facts for grades 3-5; five or more facts for grades 6-8.
  • Look at Time4Kids Women's History Milestones and scroll to Shirley Chisholm's biography. (Be sure to also click her picture for another picture and a short caption). Again, ask students what they've learned about her.
  • Go to the National Women's Hall of Fame entry about Chisholm, read the information appropriate to your students' grade level, and then ask again what they've learned.
  • Ask students what two, three, or more facts they might put on a quilt block.
  • Open the quilt block template you made before class, select the text tool, and type two or three sentences based on what students think were Chisholm's most important achievements.
  • Illustrate one or more of those achievements with any of the draw or paint tools.
  • Print the quilt block.

Students now should be able to follow these steps themselves:

  • Select (or be assigned) a famous woman from history.
  • Research the woman selected or assigned. Be sure to look specifically for her important achievements. Take notes about what you find.
  • Open the quilt block template on a computer, type 2-3 sentences about the famous woman from history. Type your name and grade.
  • Beneath the text, draw a picture illustrating one of the woman's accomplishments.
  • After the teacher has approved your quilt block's contents, save your work by your first name ("MariaQuilt," for example) and print your quilt block. (Note: Because the file was originally saved as a template, students can save their work without altering the original file.)
  • Close the file.
After each student has printed his or her work, place the blocks -- with edges overlapping -- on a large piece of butcher paper. Make sure you have enough quilt blocks to form a rectangle. If not, you might need to fill in with a few solid colored blocks. Tape together the blocks. Electrical tape can provide a colorful way to attach blocks to one another.

Display your quilt on the classroom wall, or in the hallway, office, or cafeteria. You might even invite parents and other students to see the work. Make sure students have an opportunity to share their information with one another.


Students are evaluated based on their
  • synthesis of various pieces of information from the text and graphics they create.
  • ability to identify important information while researching.

Lesson Plan Source

Education World

Submitted By

Lorrie Jackson

National Standards

FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
NA-VA.K-4.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.K-4.2 Using Knowledge of Structures and Functions
NA-VA.K-4.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
NA-VA.5-8.2 Using Knowledge of Structures and Functions
NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-USH.5-12.1 Era 1: Three Worlds Meet (Beginnings to 1620)
NSS-USH.5-12.2 Era 2: Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763)
NSS-USH.5-12.3 Era 3: Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s)
NSS-USH.5-12.4 Era 4: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
NSS-USH.5-12.5 Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
NSS-USH.5-12.6 Era 6: The Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900)
NSS-USH.5-12.7 Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)
NSS-USH.5-12.8 Era 8: The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)
NSS-USH.5-12.9 Era 9: Postwar United States (1945 to early 1970s)
NSS-USH.5-12.10 Era 10: Contemporary United States (1968 to the Present)