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Mathematical “Quilting Bee”

NCTM Conference Atlanta, GA March 22 –24, 2007

Karen Kennedy Clinton Middle School Clinton, MO

Mathematical Quilting Bee Objectives 1. Explore properties of reflectional, rotational, and translational symmetries. 2. Create quilt patterns with various types of symmetries. 3. Design a class quilt using transformations and symmetries. Materials 1. Examples of 4-block, 9-block, and 16-block patterns used by quilters. 2. Four-block and nine-block “Quilt Square Challenge” mats. 3. Baggies of quilt blocks 4. Quilt chart for recording transformations. 5. 16-block grid paper, colored pencils, markers, and rulers. 6. Assessment of Mathematical quilt. Lesson Outline o Review transformations (reflection, rotation, and translation) and symmetry. o Students will complete a quilt chart as they explore recreating different quilt patterns using the four-block, nine-block, and sixteen-block patterns. o Students will create and write about the mathematical elements used in a sixteen-block quilt design. See the assessment rubric. Quilt myth Be careful about all the lessons suggesting that quilts were used to guide the slaves to freedom. Check out these sites regarding the validity to this increasingly popular story.

Quilt Square Challenge

Quilt Square Challenge

Quilt Square Challenge

Quilt Squares: cut into 12 squares

Quilt Chart Blocks








Name ___________________ hour_____ Geometric Shapes

Flip, Slide, Turn

Start at * and explain clockwise

Rotational Symmetry (Yes? – give degrees)

Line Symmetry (Yes?, how many?)

Assessment of “Mathematical Quilt” Student completed the “quilt chart“ identifying information listed.


Student created a quilt block using translations, reflections, and/or rotations.

Student described in writing the elements of math that was used to create the quilt piece created.

Successfully completed a quilt block that is: o Neat o Used a ruler o Colorful o Design has either line and/or rotational symmetry o Design is appealing to the eye.

Description included: o All geometric shapes used listed. o Lines of symmetry (horizontal, vertical,

diagonal) that applies given.

o Rotational symmetry (give degrees of rotation) that

applies given. o Explain the transformations one would have to use to re-create your quilt block. (Use vocabulary-> translation, rotation & reflection)


Used complete sentences and correct punctuation.


Successfully completed chart with no incorrect answers.

Quilt block met all but one criteria above.

Description did not include all elements of math used to create the quilt piece.


Attempt made with few correct answers or incomplete.

Quilt block did not meet at least ½ of the criteria listed above.

Description did not include more than ½ of the elements used to create the quilt piece.


No attempt made or all answers incorrect.

No attempt made.

No attempt made.

Total points possible -> 15


Math Quilting Bee  

Handout from nctm07 conference

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