Navigating the Stars

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SWBAT improve their knowledge of fractions and geometry to create a quilt square to enhance reading comprehension.

Big Idea

Teach Precision with Tools.

Material Prep

Before teaching the mini-lesson and sending students off to collaborate with peers prepare materials.

Material Preparation:

Cut 30-40 8 by 8 inch pieces of copy paper.

Cut 2 inch long strips of colored construction paper.

Cut strips into 2 by 2 inch squares.

Put colored squares into containers. Have one container of each color for each table group to share.

Have sets of scissors, glue sticks, and rulers available for each table.

Make two examples to use in the mini-lesson.  One made using warm colors and one using cool colors.

Prepare several examples of  the quilt square in different stages of completion to support students understanding of the process.



15 minutes

We have been reading historical fiction about slavery and the civil war.  As a way to deepen understanding and do a little cross curricular learning we also have been studying the role of particular quilt patterns during this time period.

Bring students to the rug.  Explain that they will be making a quilt square pattern called the North Star.  

"Today students you will strengthen your understanding of measurement, fractions, squares, and right triangles as you learn more about the role of quilts during the period of slavery in the United States.  Today we will start just like we did a couple days ago with making our grid of 16 equal sized pieces.

Watch me as I divide this 8 by 8 inch piece of paper into 16 2 by 2 inch squares.  First I will use my ruler and make a tiny slash at the 2", 4" and 6" point across the top of my paper. Next, I will rotate my paper 90 degrees and do the same thing.  I will use my ruler and precisely measure at 2", 4" and 6" at the top of this side.  Now, I will rotate my paper another 90 degrees and do the same thing.  I will measure and mark at 2,4,and 6 inches. Finally, I will rotate my paper another 90 degrees and mark across the top with a tiny slash at 2,4, and 6 inches.

The next step is to draw a straight vertical line with my pencil and ruler from the first mark at 2 inches and connecting it to the first mark at 2 inches on the bottom of my paper.  Here's a tip:  I will line up both the top and the bottom of my ruler next to the slashes before I draw my line.  Watch me as I work carefully and precisely so that my line is perpendicular to the top and bottom edge.  Now I will draw two more straight, perpendicular lines connecting the marks at 4 inches on the bottom and top of my paper.  Lastly I will connect the marks at 6 inches at both the top and the bottom using my ruler to line up the marks so my line will be exact.

Now I am half way done with my grid.  Now my paper is divided equally into four 2 by 8 inch columns.  Next, I will rotate my paper and once again connect the marks at 2 inches by drawing a straight vertical perpendicular line.  I will continue the process and draw a line to connect the marks at 4 inches at the top and bottom.  I have one more line to draw.  I will connect the marks at 6 inches on the top and bottom of my paper.  There, now I have divided my paper into 16 2 inch sized squares.

This grid is going to help me know where to glue my construction paper squares or right triangles.

Let me show you a completed quilt square of a pattern called the North Star.  This pattern was used in the times of slavery.  Legend has it that this design was used as a code.  It stood for follow the North Star to find your way to freedom.  Sometimes songs were also used along with patterns in quilts to guide runaway slaves north.

The next step is to divide some of the squares in half diagonally.  I will give you an example to follow for this part once you have divided your paper in 16 equal sized pieces.  Is everyone ready to start?  Ok I am going to dismiss you to your table groups and the materials people will pass out our supplies.




Independent Work

45 minutes

Once students are seated and have their rulers and pencils they will first turn a piece of 8 by 8 in paper into a grid of 16 equal sized squares.  Next, they will need to copy the design on the template on to their grid.  

Once they have their design drawn they are ready to select their colors and amount of each.  Everyone is making their star on a black background so they will need 8 squares of black, and 4 additional colors 2 squares of each color. Step one is to glue four black squares on the corners. Next, students will use a ruler and a pencil to draw a straight diagonal line from opposite corners to turn a square into two right triangles.  Then, fill in the sides  remaining with black right triangles.  Now it is time to begin cutting the remaining squares into right triangles and placing them on the design. 

Students will fill in the star pattern using the right triangles.  Color 1, Color 2, Color 3 and ending with color 4.