Beacon Unit Plan Library

Geo Jammin By DeSign

Katie Koehnemann
Beacon Learning Center (Bay District Schools)


Slide, flip, and turn students' thinking into the world of spatial relationships and geometric design with directed inquiries in song, dance, literature, games, poetry, and history. Develop students' understanding of symmetry by investigating lines of symmetry to uncover congruent shapes, shapes within shapes, and reflections. Use of mirrors, geoboards, tangrams, and coordinate geometry help to build comprehension as students discover quilts and their geometric mathematics as an art form. Through history, students learn that quilts are rich in cultural heritage and epitomize conservation of resources, while meeting basic needs. Experiences are enriched by a visit with the local quilting guild, dyeing fabric swatches, and stitching an appliqué. Summatively assess student knowledge and applications as they perform slides, flips and turns with math manipulatives and unpack their mind to make a design to add to the classroom simulated quilt. Students write and publish a report on SiteMaker identifying the qualities of their selected quilt block pattern. As a grand finale, students read and follow informational text to fold a rectangle into a popper noisemaker.

Enjoy the rigors of high-energy teaching and learning without the toil of planning. This unit assures a well-balanced literacy program integrated with content learning in Math and Social Studies. Lessons smoothly segue one to the other, and are challenging, interactive, and address multiple intelligences. All handouts, assessments, and teacher organizational tools are included.


What are spatial relationships and where do they occur in the environment?
Can an object in two dimensions be located and described algebraically?
Can spatial relationships be created as an art form that reflect cultural heritage?


The planned duration of this activity is 8 days.

Associated Files

Instructional Plan Overview     File Extension:  pdf

Student Diagnostic and Summative Record Sheet     File Extension:  pdf

Individual Formative Assessment Management Tool     File Extension:  pdf

Sh-h-h-Apes At Work Diaganostic Assessment     File Extension:  pdf

Unpack My Mind to Make a Design - Summative Assessment A     File Extension:  pdf

Piecing Together What I Know - Summative Assessment B     File Extension:  pdf

Manipulative Mania - Summative Assessment C     File Extension:  pdf

Up, Down, and All Around - Summative Assessment D     File Extension:  pdf

Lesson Plans

Day 1, Lesson 1, Math in Motion
Swirling, rotating, changing, sliding. . . stimulate interest with shapes in motion to prepare students for entry into the world of geometric design. Analysis and synthesis questions are served as the appetizer before the diagnostic assessment is given.

Day 1, Lesson 2, Dancing Duo
Teacher and students are a dynamic duo who search a geometry Website to identify geometric vocabulary words, record them on a Quilt Word Wall, and dance them out together. Words are displayed to take on characteristics of different design patterns.

Day 1, Lesson 3, Moo-vin
Put the meaning of newly introduced vocabulary to the tune of “Hokey Pokey” and children develop an understanding through music and dance. Lyrics are read as a whole group and become a Guided Reading experience where more geometric vocabulary is discovered within.

Day 1, Lesson 4, Transformation Station
Students predict the outcome of the slide, flip, and turn of a triangle by transforming their thoughts and ideas into informational text. The recorded text is tested for accuracy and through peer feedback is written to perfection.

Day 1, Lesson 5, Do You Hear What I Hear?
Following directions given in poetry fashion, students apply newly learned geometric vocabulary to successfully create an animal. Reading informational text for key words and specific purpose and comprehension of geometric terms is the focus.

Day 1, Lesson 6, Quilt Story
Through literature, discussion, and response to critical thinking questions, students recognize the use of geometric components in quilts, and that quilts are an artistic form that reflect the cultural heritage of the people who design them.

Day 2, Lesson 7, Start At Square One
Using manipulatives, students explore new shape possibilities by combining two and four triangles. A critical thinking approach is used to guide students’ predictions and discoveries with design.

Day 2, Lesson 8, Can You Please Give Me Directions?
Guided reading strategies are utilized to teach students how to effectively read informational text. Challenged to cut a tangram, students read how-to directions and demonstrate their understanding of geometric terms to complete the task successfully.

Day 2, Lesson 9, Bringing It To A Fine Gloss-ary
Students demonstrate their understanding of geometric vocabulary and informational text by working independently to create their own glossary of terms. Investigative exploration with tangrams creates an arena for critical thinking and problem solving.

Day 2, Lesson 10, Wanna Trade?
Through critical thinking questions, students develop an understanding of the way trade helps meet the basic needs of people, ways people can conserve and replenish their resources, and that quilts are an art form that reflect our cultural heritage.

Day 2, Lesson 11, A Stitch in Time
Through reading personal size booklets, class discussion, and viewing of historical quilts, students are enlightened to the culturally artistic value of quilts, the importance of trade in meeting basic needs, and the conservation of natural resources.

Day 3, Lesson 12, Jammin
Utilizing learning aides, students are guided through a fast-paced review of vocabulary, language arts, geometry, and social studies concepts. Participation in choral reading, performance, and sharing of ideas are the means of concept clarification.

Day 3, Lesson 13, Reflections
Students write predictions for new word meanings. Through small group and classroom discussions, students forge their way to developing an understanding of the line of symmetry, and gear up for an exploration of symmetry.

Day 3, Lesson 14, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Led in exploration by accepting statements and probing questions, students work in small groups with mirrors to discover and identify the characteristics of symmetry, with the intent to write a description of symmetry and to locate the line of symmetry.

Day 3, Lesson 15, The Quiltmaker's Gift
Using observation skills, students develop an eye for symmetry through literature. Class discussion is the arena whereby students hone in on the correct use of content language to enhance understanding and conceptualization of targeted concepts.

Day 3, Lesson 16, The ABC of Symmetry
Steps for an art project are used for guided reading. The activity develops a deeper understanding of how to read informational text, symmetry as it pertains to all elements of design, and art as part of history that reflects aspects of daily life.

Day 3, Lesson 17, Granny's Attic
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.

Day 3, Lesson 18, Coordinated!
A sequence of drawings performed by the teacher, leads students to make associations with the object being drawn and geometry content learned in prior lessons. Through questioning students unlock Quadrant 1 of a coordinate plane and new vocabulary words.

Day 4, Lesson 19, Geo Junction
Using a geoboard as a coordinate grid and pieces of drinking straws as markers, students locate and mark coordinate points on the geoboard. Located points are transferred to geo dot paper where students identify the point by writing the coordinates.

Day 4, Lesson 20, Listening for Patterns
Knowledge and understanding of patterns are extended through the use of literature as students make enriched connections to patterns in the real-world and transferring ideas.

Day 4, Lesson 21, The Important Thing
Criteria are presented for designing a quilt block design. Students demonstrate their depth of understanding of math content by using their knowledge of the concepts and transferring it into a literary pattern to write a class big book.

Day 4, Lesson 22, Authentic Design
Handmade quilts presented by the local Quilters Guild give students the opportunity to view, first-hand, a menagerie of quilt types, patterns, and themed designs. Students experience the actual size and complexity of handmade quilts and their designs.

Day 4, Lesson 23, Colors To Dye For
Experiencing samples and reading about colors in fabric deepen understandings that works of art reflect cultural heritage, that trade helps families meet their basic needs, and that people can use and conserve their natural resources.

Day 5, Lesson 24, Read All About It!
The most important thing about this lesson is the class wrote the book themselves. It reviews symmetry, line of symmetry, congruent, slide, flip, turn, shapes within a shape, and patterns. But the important thing is that the class wrote the book themselves.

Day 5, Lesson 25, Geo Jungle
Knowledge of geometry is taken to the woods as students walk the school grounds in search of symmetry in nature. Their finds are brought back to the classroom, preserved by pressing, and then used as the focus of a student generated narrative.

Day 5, Lesson 26, Tangram Tantrums
Virtual manipulatives and tangrams give students a lesson in geometric terms they won’t forget. Challenged with odd shaped puzzles, students must effectively see shapes within a shape, and correctly direct piece movement with the terms slide, flip, turn.

Day 5, Lesson 27, DeSigning Coordinates
Geo dot paper is used as a grid for coordinate geometry, making a familiar arena for performing a most unusual task. Letters are assigned to each dot. The challenge is to decode each word using given coordinates and then to illustrate each with tangrams.

Day 5, Lesson 28, The Mo-tea-if
Preparing a fabric swatch for appliquéing begins with reading informational text and directions for tea dying cloth. The task comes full circle as students are given a piece of fabric, and use tea leaves to dye it to the shade of their choosing.

Day 6, Lesson 29, Geo Jabber
Given a vocabulary word by the teacher, students show what they know by jabbering on their geoboard. Students silently present created illustrations or demonstrations for each word by holding up individual geoboards.

Day 6, Lesson 30, Manipulative Mania
Explore and experiment with creating designs with specific components is one individual activity that students engage in. As students transfer designs and use a checklist to check for inclusiveness, each is summatively assessed on selected standards.

Day 6, Lesson 31, Ge-0h Boy, Oh Boy
Through literature, students see an authentic use for stitching that goes beyond the coverlet and quilting as a feminine pastime. The concepts of quilting come full circle and students learn that it is useful for boys, as well as girls.

Day 6, Lesson 32, Applique-tion of Learning
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.

Day 7, Lesson 33, Unpack My Mind to Make a Design
Design pumps are primed and creative juices start to flow as students view various quilt pattern designs to identify and label components of each. Students then work independently on creating a quilt block design. (Summative Assessment A)

Day 7, Lesson 34, Flying Geese
The Flying Geese quilt pattern is used as a graphic organizer for classifying learned concepts. Using student-generated ideas, the teacher models use of the design for organizing knowledge and writing recorded ideas into paragraphs for a report.

Day 7, Lesson 35, Scatter Brain
The word is out! Challenge students to decode the message by locating the given coordinate points of letters scattered on a coordinate grid. Then, using letter coordinates from the grid, students write a coded message to parents.

Day 7, Lesson 36, DeSign Sampler
Using pictures of quilts, student groups follow presented criteria and utilize the role of each student to write quilt reports. This exercise affords students another opportunity to prepare for the summative assessment given the following day.

Day 7, Lesson 37, Summarizing for the Summative
Purposeful listening and discretionary ears are a must as peers listen to group reports and offer positive and corrective feedback with regards to content criteria. This summarizing activity prepares students for the summative assessment of like design.

Day 7, Lesson 38, Kool Cups
Caution, fun ahead! Students read informational text and use mathematical language for the specific purpose of making geometric cups! Students proceed through the lesson to make cups per direction specifications. To test for accuracy, fill with Kool-Aid.

Web Links

Students describe symmetry in two-dimensional shapes.
Ask Hannah

Students realize the value of arts reflecting cultural heritage as they read this piece of historical fiction.
Stitches of Time

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.