Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Geo Jammin' By Design - Day 6, Lesson 32: Applique-tion of Learning

Katie Koehnemann
Bay District Schools


Appreciation for quilts as an art form, trade item, and as a way to conserve resources is developed by students reading and applying how-to text to actually hand appliqué a motif design to background fabric using three different styles of stitches.


The student reads informational texts for specific purposes (including but not limited to performing a task, learning a new task, sequentially carrying out the steps of a procedure, locating information to answer a question).

The student identifies patterns in the real-world (for example, repeating, rotational, tessellating, and patchwork).

The student knows some works of art that reflect the cultural heritage of the community or country (for example, paintings, statues).

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.


-Suggested Website book marked. (See Weblinks section of this lesson.)
-Computer hooked to large screen monitor (i.e. Television)
-Square of fabric for each student. Suggested size, approximately 6 X 6 inches. Suggested color, white, or anything with high contrast to the tea dyed color.
-Students’ tea dyed fabric triangles from Day 5, Lesson 28, The Mo-tea-if
-Threaded needle for each student (See Teacher Preparations)
-Extra hands (Parents, classroom aides, fifth grade students, volunteers from the Quilters Guild, etc.)
-Transparency of directions for each different style of appliqué stitch (See Associated File)
-Overhead projector and viewing surface
-Large fabric pieces for demonstration/modeling each type of stitch (See Teacher Preparation)
-Bulletin board to display students’ appliqué quilt blocks


1. To make this lesson as uncomplicated as possible, it is suggested that all needles are pre-threaded so that all that is needed is for them to be passed out. There are many ways you could choose to do this. You can get large holed needles and thread them with colored yarn so that the different types of stitches are more dramatic, you can use cross-stitch thread, I should think this would be a nice effect, or use regular thread.
2. To assure the project reflects appliqué, the 6 X 6 inch squares of fabric should be a color that is in contrast to the motif fabric, which is the tea dyed piece. Cut the pieces of fabric to whatever size fits your needs best. Have a sufficient supply so there is one per child with a couple of extras.
3. Copy of each type of stitch directions for each student.
4. Schedule people to assist with this lesson. (Parents, Quilter’s Guild members, aides, etc.)
5. Demonstration fabric sample larger than the 6 x 6 inch suggested for students. Consider using yarn in a bright color to make it easier for students to see.
6. Visit suggested Website and explore the photos of quilts. (See comment in Weblinks section of this lesson plan.)


1) To gain students’ attention show samples of appliqué quilts on large screen monitor. (See Weblinks) Ask students to identify this type of quilt. Review with a short overview of what appliqué is and the technique. (Appliqué is from a French word that means to put on or lay on; a cutout decoration fastened to a large piece of material.)

2) Use critical thinking questions to guide students in a review discussion of the artistic aspects of quilting, how quilting conserved resources, and how, if a quilt was traded, it served to meet and/or replenish other basic needs of people.

3) Explain to students they will hand stitch three different appliqué stitches. The motif (the decorative piece sewn to the main fabric) of this sample quilt block will be a triangle. They will use their tea dyed fabric triangle (See Lesson 28, Mo-tea-if). Set parameters for participating in this activity, such as, students must remain in their seats, raise hands if they have questions, work carefully as needles are sharp, etc.

4) Introduce the classroom helpers.
OPTION I: Divide students into small groups and assign one helper to each individual group. Each group can sit in a circle and talk about the stitch patterns, difficulties they might be having, solutions to these difficulties, etc. This approach models the old fashioned quilting bee.
OPTION II: Students sit with a friend in a place of choice. Assistants monitor the class giving assistance to whoever is in need.
OPTION III: Students remain in their seats during sewing time. They may visit with neighbors. Helpers monitor and give assistance when needed.

5) With assistants’ help, distribute students’ tea dyed fabric triangles, threaded needles, and a fabric square to use as the main piece.

6) Begin by having all students put their materials down. Place the first set of directions on the overhead. (In Associated File) Call on individual students to share in the reading of the directions. Demonstrate and model for students the first stitch style. Hold large fabric pieces high so all students can watch the demonstration. Explain that the tea dyed piece is the motif fabric or the one that the design is made from. The white piece would be the main body of the quilt.

7) Remind students to refer to the directions as they begin to sew their triangle motif to the main piece of fabric.

8) Class assistants should offer help as needed.

9) Suggested: Give enough time for students to stitch one side of the triangle motif with the first stitch style. Follow the same procedures for the second stitch style; allow students to experience this stitch on the second side of the triangle motif, then follow the procedure for the third style of stitching and have students complete the triangle motif using the third style of appliqué stitch.

10) Formative assessment occurs as student discussions and comments are monitored with regard to:
A. Difficulty of the stitches
B. Their hands get tired
C. Imagining how long it would take to make an entire quilt
D. To visit with friends makes the task more fun, go more quickly, etc.
Through these discussions in small groups, friends, or partners, students are aware of:
A. Importance of quilting as an art form
B. Concept of quilting a bee
C. Sharing of pattern ideas
D. Conserving small pieces of fabric
E. How quilting replenished their need for shelter/covering for warmth
F. How a pictorial quilt would be useful for trade

11) Guide students to imagine how long it may have taken to stitch entire quilt. Ask, if they had stitched an entire quilt by hand, what would they be willing to trade it for?

12) With assistants’ help, collect all materials.

13) Display students’ appliqué quilt blocks on a bulletin board. (Suggested heading: ‘The Art of Quilting’)


Formative assessment occurs as students’ comments are monitored. Listen for comments such as: this is hard, this takes so long, I sew slowly, when is lunch, and do I have to do all of it? These are the best indicators that students are developing an understanding of quilting as a work of art, and appreciation for how people conserved resources and replenished needs by utilizing small pieces of fabric. It also gives evidence of students’ ability to read informational text for a specific purpose.


1) This is Lesson 32 – Appliqué-tion of Learning; a 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
2) Hundreds of pictures of quilts are at Quilts and Quiltmaking in America (See Weblinks section). Click on Gallery of Photographs for page after page of quilts. Click on the photos of the individual quilts for enlargements. Browse photos with the class or click on Search by Keyword, type in suggested titles, and click search. Some suggested appliqué quilts: Dutch Girl quilt (detail), Appliquéd quilt (detail), Flower Basket quilt (detail), and Rose quilt (detail).
3) Just how much work goes into making a quilt? A Quilting Question (See Weblink section) offers a quick, fun, estimation game. Students predict how many pieces were stitched together to make the pictured quilt.
4) To show another use for appliquéing and a demonstration of how appliqué patterns are cut visit Free Craft Pattern from Martingale and Company (See Weblink section). Scroll down the page to see a free appliqué pattern and sewing directions.
5) 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).
6) Ask Hannah (Interactive Student Web Lesson) teaches and reviews symmetry concepts. Use as a learning center. (See Weblink section)
7) If a journal is kept for this unit, allow students time to reflect on this activity.

Web Links

This site offers hundreds of pictures of quilts. Click on Gallery of Photographs for page after page of quilts. Click on the photos of the individual quilts for enlargements. You can browse the photos with the class or you can click on Search by Keyword, type in these titles, and click search. These are some appliqué quilts: Dutch Girl quilt (detail), Appliqued quilt (detail), Flower Basket quilt (detail), and Rose quilt (detail).
Quilts and Quiltmaking in America

Just how much work goes into making a quilt? A quick, fun, estimation game, students guess how many pieces were stitched together to make the pictured quilt.
A Quilting Question

See Extensions for suggested use.
Ask Hannah

Attached Files

Attached documents.     File Extension: pdf

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