Hexagon Quilt Top Design (Keeping Us in Stitches Activity)

Courtesy of the Illinois State Museum. December/0/2011
All rights reserved, Illinois State Museum
Purpose: To help students understand how the hexagon shape can be a building block in patterns for quilt tops (and other art forms).

Objectives: students will be able to design radially symmetrical or bilaterally symmetrical color patterns by planning and coloring in the hexagon graph paper after studying the hexagonal-pieced quilts of Bertha Stenge and Albert Small.

Illinois State Museum Web site used:

Grade Level: 2-6

Time Required: one class period

  • hexagonal graph paper printed out from Web site (can also be bought at stationery shops)
  • crayons, colored pencils, or marker
  • sketch paper pattern ideas
Motivation: Students can
  • view the above-mentioned quilts and discuss their sources for color, shapes, and designs (such as oriental carpets, tiles, plates).
  • discuss the symmetries involved in these designs, and how they differ from the designs of other pieced patterns.
  • practice a small design online in the hexagon unit of pieced quilts.
Procedures: Students will
  • sketch ideas for their design on paper. Two-inches square is a good size for trying several ideas.
  • choose a color scheme.
  • transfer these ideas to the graph paper by coloring in the appropriate hexagons in the chosen colors. The center is a good starting point.
  • name the final design.

Publication and Closure: Display the hexagon-pieced designs with a label of name and maker, and an artist’s statement about the design.

Assessment: The student design should be radially concentric by color, with leeway for exceptions of bilateral symmetry. Students should be able to identify both symmetries.
Illinois State Board of Education Goals and Standards addressed:
Visual Art:
Goal 26: Through creating, learn how works of art are produced. (all levels) Mathematics:
Goal 9: Use geometrical shapes in practical settings. (general)

Subject: Art

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