Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Geo Jammin' By Design - Day 3, Lesson 17: Granny's Attic

Katie Koehnemann
Bay District Schools


Take a computer trip through Granny's attic to see what old quilts can be found. Examine original quilt designs as displayed on large screen monitor. Then use children's literature and class discussion to develop the social studies connection.


The student describes symmetry in two-dimensional shapes.

The student determines lines of symmetry of two-dimensional shapes by using concrete materials.

The student knows congruent shapes.

The student identifies shapes that can be combined or separated (for example, a rectangle can be separated into two triangles).

The student identifies and demonstrates slides, flips, and turns of simple figures using concrete materials.

The student idendtifies and generates patterns in a list of related number pairs based on real-life situations (for example, T-chart with number of children to number of eyes, i.e., 1 child=2 eyes, 2 children=4 eyes).

The student knows ways trade helps families in different places meet their basic needs of clothing, food, and shelter.

The student knows ways people can conserve and replenish natural resources.


-STITCHES OF TIME by Julie Thompson (In Associated File)
-Sharing STITCHES OF TIME a Teachers Guide to Shared Reading (In Associated File)
-Computer with color printer capable of printing transparencies
-Color transparency of each quilt design from the story STITCHES OF TIME (In Associated File)
-Overhead projector with viewing surface
-Read suggested articles to have a working knowledge of quilts to present to students (See Web links)
-Bookmark websites for viewing quilts with students. (See Web links)
-Computer with large viewing monitor, such as a TV screen.
-OPTIONAL (See Extensions #2)


1) Prior to this lesson, visit suggested Website and read the short, easy articles. These give a working knowledge of different styles and patterns viewed by students. There are several informative articles at this site. All are short and give quick information. Do not feel limited to only those suggested.
2) Bookmark sites and quilts to share with students. (See Weblinks)
3) Copy “Stitches of Time” by Julie Thompson. (In Associated File)
4) Make color transparencies of quilt block designs from the story. (In Associated File)
5) Copy Sharing Stitches of Time a Teacher’s Guide to Shared Reading (In Associated File)
6) Read the story through, becoming familiar with it for optimal effectiveness.
7) Have an overhead projector with viewing surface.
OPTIONAL: See Extensions # 2


NOTE: Tell students about different types of quilts. Include a bit of history and information about each. (See Weblinks) Select quilts the same type students choose from when writing the summative assessment quilt report. Quilts introduced in this lesson are: Theme quilt (Remembrance or Mourning), Patchwork (Pieced and Appliquéd), Crazy quilt, and Album quilts. There are examples of repeating and rotational patterns.

Helpful vocabulary:
*Theme quilt – these are commemorative quilts. Quilts can be made to commemorate, for example, winter, spring, a marriage, special holiday, a loved one gone to war, or for the ladies that traveled westward on wagon train, they may have made a quilt to commemorate the home they left back east.
*Patchwork – Pieced: the art of sewing each individual geometric shape together.
Appliquéd: the art of cutting fabric into pictorial shapes and sewing it on top of the larger body of fabric to create a picture.
*Crazy quilt – Irregular shapes stitched together. The fabrics were more elegant, such as silk and velvet, and elaborate, decorative, artful, stitches were added.
*Album quilt – Also called a Friendship or Presentation quilt. These quilts are usually made from blocks made by different makers. Blocks are signed and the finished quilt presented to someone as a special gift. Also, a sampler album quilt is an elegant mix of materials used in a most unusual and creative way. These are sometimes referred to as Baltimore quilts.

1) Darken the room as much as possible. Begin by showing different quilt designs on the large monitor from the suggested Weblinks. Invite students on a trip through Granny’s attic to look for different types of quilts. Each is unfolded and inspected to learn more about it. As each one is appreciated, be thinking which is your favorite.

2) From Websites, show various quilts, telling a little about each type. (See Weblinks)
3) Guide students toward connections with:
*Geometric concepts being studied, such as; shapes within shapes, slides, flips, turns, congruent shapes, symmetry of design, line of symmetry, symmetrical coloring, rotational, patchwork, and repeat designs.
*Social studies concepts that should be evident are quilting as an art form, conservation of resources and replenishing bedding (shelter) needs by piecing together small swatches of recycled fabrics.
Students should demonstrate application of learned knowledge through recognition of various aspects of geometry and social studies, in an authentic setting. Without too much prompting, students should readily recognize and identify the components named. Formatively assess responses and check for accuracy with regard to content.

4) Call on various students to share which quilt is their favorite and why. Display choices on the monitor as they share and discuss.

5) Gather students in the story area. Read the story “Stitches of Time” by Julie Thompson (In Associated File). When a particular quilt square is introduced in the story, lay the corresponding color transparency of the block on the overhead for students to view as details about it are read.
*Use Sharing Stitches of Time a Teacher’s Guide to Shared Reading (In Associated File) to ask questions to uncover, discover, and discuss the story.

6) Formative assessment occurs as a discussion, generated by each page, is facilitated. Listen for students’ correct identification and demonstration of understanding of social studies concepts. Students should recognize the quilt as an art form, each quilt block representative of the daily life, history, and beliefs of the person who made it, including the importance of trade for meeting their basic needs, and conservation and replenishing of natural resources.

7) Hang color transparencies of quilt blocks from the story in the window, allowing sunlight to illuminate.

8) “Stitches of Time” is presented as a Student Web Book. Students may read and enjoy this story. See Weblinks


Formative assessment occurs as students view quilts and make connections with geometric concepts being studied, such as; shapes within shapes, slides, flips, turns, congruent shapes, symmetry, line of symmetry, rotational, patchwork, and repeat designs. Formative assessment also takes place as students participate in a class discussion generated by the story. Listen for students’ connection and understanding of quilts as works of art that reflect cultural heritage, conservation and replenishing of natural resources, and that trading was a way to meet basic needs. Use data gleaned to guide further instruction.


1) This is Lesson 17 – Granny’s Attic; Social Studies lesson
Lessons 1 – 6 are for Day 1 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons 7 – 11 are for Day 2 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons 12 – 17 are for Day 3 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons 18 – 23 are for Day 4 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons 24 – 28 are for Day 5 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons 29 – 32 are for Day 6 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign.
Lessons 33 – 38 are for Day 7 of the unit Geo Jammin’ By DeSign
Lessons may reflect modifications of, but are designed in conjunction with the Reading Framework approach to classroom instruction and may be adapted to the Four Block Classroom.
1) OPTIONAL, but highly recommended. In that students will need practice recognizing different pattern types as they occur in the real world, gather for the classroom, books with pictures of quilts, book mark Websites with quilt designs and/or print on transparency and hang in the window a menagerie of quilt designs that are clear examples of patterns. (Repeating, rotational, and patchwork) As filler during the day, to line students up, dismiss, etc, individual students are called on to correctly identify a pattern being pointed to from one of these sources. (Copyright prohibits distributing print copies, however, they may be displayed in the classroom for educational purposes.)
2) Other suggested books about quilts:
SELINA AND THE BEAR PAW QUILT by Barbara Smucker, ISBN 0517885786
This story focuses on a Mennonite family in Pennsylvania during America’s Civil War that create a quilt from scraps. The book features quilted borders and intricate cloth patterns in the illustrations.
--THE QUILT-BLOCK HISTORY OF PIONEER DAYS by Mary Cobb, ISBN 1562944851 This story explains how quilt designs were developed during colonial and pioneer times.
--THE LOG CABIN QUILT by Ellen Howard, ISBN 0823413365
This book illustrates pioneer days; log cabins, and creating a quilt from scraps.
3) The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).
4) Invite guests in to share historical or family quilts with the class.
5) Ask Hannah (Interactive Student Web Lesson, See Weblinks) teaches and reviews symmetry concepts. Use it as a learning center.

Web Links

The first two suggested sites provide short, easy reading which give some background information on types of quilts. Read essays prior to this lesson to gain a working knowledge of the different styles and patterns to be shown to students. For a potpourri of history tidbits to discuss with the class, go to the America’s Quilting History homepage. Once at this site, click Article Index, then choose, Those Crazed Victorian Crazy Quilts (click on Crazy Quilt in the article for a sample to view), Quilts to Soften the Final Leaving (At the bottom of the article click on Tragedy of September 11 to view a variety of theme quilts that are also mourning quilts), Pioneer Quilts A Comfort Through Hardship, The Elegance of Sampler Album Quilts (Also thought of as Baltimore quilts), and more.
America's Quilting History

For more informational tidbits to understand and share with students, go to Patches From the Past. Once at the site go to Scraps of Our Quilting History – Article Index, then choose Soothing the Edges of Pain, and others.
Patches From the Past

These are antebellum quilts from the upper Shenandoah Valley. At this site, you can click on each block sample to view the entire quilt.
Material Histories, Continuous Threads

At this site, quilts are in motion. Students see the original geometric design, then how it is connected together to make a block design, and finally how color is added. Some quilt block designs are symmetrically colored; others are not, which could be a point of observation for students.
Women and Geometry: An Archive of American Patchwork Quilt Designs

Use this original story by Julie Thompson written especially for the unit, Geo Jammin' By DeSign. This version includes pictures and text. You will need a TV and computer with Internet access or you can download it onto a disk and use it without Internet access. Students can also access it themselves in a computer lab or at home.
Stitches of Time

Attached Files

Teacher's Guide (This includes pre, during and post reading strategies to use as the children read it or you read it aloud. You will need one copy.)     File Extension: pdf

Stitches of Time (This is the text version of the online Stitches of Time story listed in the Weblinks. This version is for the teacher and includes appropriate times to display the various quilt blocks listed in the Associated Files.)      File Extension: pdf

Quilt Block 1     File Extension: pdf

Quilt Block 2     File Extension: pdf

Quilt Block 3     File Extension: pdf

Quilt Block 4     File Extension: pdf

Quilt Block 5     File Extension: pdf

Quilt Block 6     File Extension: pdf

Quilt Block 7     File Extension: pdf

Quilt Block 8     File Extension: pdf

Quilt Block 9     File Extension: pdf

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