Quilt Dilations

Kristine Bates
All rights reserved, Illinois State Museum
Subject(s)/Grade(s): Mathematics/6-8

Learning Outcomes
  • Students will be exposed to a variety of quilt patterns (particularly the 4-patch quilt block)
  • Students will become familiar with related mathematical terms (“dilations”, “preimage”, and “image”) and participate in creating various dilations on graph paper.
  • Students will create and color their own 4-block quilt pattern to be displayed as a classroom quilt.
  • Students will review the formulas for perimeter and area of a rectangle.

Teacher Planning

  • Time to complete: 1-2 class periods and approximately one week out of class to complete final project
  • Concepts: dilations, pre-image, image


  • Book: The Quiltmaker’s Gift  by Jeff Brumbeau; illustrated by Gail De Marcken
  • Samples of quilts that contain 4-patch (could use any quilts to discuss patterns, photos or computer images)
  • Graph paper
  • Colored pencils
  • Rulers


  • Read the picture book: The Quiltmaker’s Gift to the class.
  • Discuss different types of quilt patterns and introduce the 4-patch by showing the quilt samples.
  • Introduce the term “dilation” and discuss how it might be used to make quilts.
  • Practice dilating shapes (could use overhead or graph boards).
  • Introduce the handout Quilt Block along with graph paper and rulers.
  • Complete the first two directions together on graph paper.
  • Students will then complete the rest of the sheet on their own or with partners.
  • On the second day introduce the assignment of creating their own pattern, go over the rubric, allow time in class to get started.
  • Upon students completion of assignment mount designs on uniform size black paper to mount on the wall as a quilt.


  • Students will receive credit based upon completion of the handout.
  • Student creations will be evaluated as to how accurately they have mastered the 4-block design using mathematical concepts and formulas.
Attachments: -Submitted by Kristine Bates, Mathematics Teacher, Waynesville Middle School, Waynesville, North Carolina

Bibliography: Brumbeau, Jeff. The Quiltmaker’s Gift. New York: Scholastic Press, 2001.

Credits: By Kristine Bates and the Craft Revival digital collection at Western Carolina University.
North Carolina: Introductory Mathematics, 2.05
Subject: Mathematics

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