Math + Social Studies = Awesomeness

By now, you all know that I love teaching Social Studies, so it should come as no surprise that when I am teaching other subjects, I find any way I can to throw a little historical connection in.

We are now studying about the 13 colonies.  We are also doing both geometry and fractions in math.  How on earth do I combine the two???   Colonial Quilts!

Gorgeous, eh?  I am seriously over the moon about how this project turned out.  I can't stop looking at it.  (the picture above isn't the 100% final product...those loose ends have since been cut off for the end project)

So here is what we did.  During our social studies block, we read a bunch of books about colonial times, focusing specifically on daily life.  After showing the students a few examples of quilts, we brainstormed the qualities they noticed in the quilts themselves (many of them were symmetrical, bright, had repeating patterns, etc...)

I then had the students create a 20 cm x 20 cm square (we have cm graph paper available at school).  Choosing either 2, 4, or 5 colors, the students created a square that had at least one triangle, quadrilateral, was bright, and symmetrical.

During math, we are focusing on area of quadrilaterals and triangles, as well as fractions, decimals and percents.   Since they had this knowledge under their belt, it made the actual math portion of this project a *bit* easier.  Don't get me wrong, it was still tricky, but just challenging enough, without being impossible.

Depending upon how many colors the students chose, I gave them a recording sheet to do their work.  They first needed to count the number of squares that took up each color....a HUGE challenge, since there were 400 squares!  The triangles were tricky, but I modeled extensively how to count the portion of the square that took up each color.

Once that was done, the students created fractions, simplified them, then figured out the decimal and percent of each individual color that was on the quilt square.

Click the picture for recording sheets

The students then found the area of one or two of their triangles, followed by the area of one or two of their quadrilaterals.

I then laminated the individual squares and put the quilt together using duct tape.  I recommend doing this on tile...not wood floors, as the tape will stick to it (I found this out the hard way :( )  Then, pull it up (slowly and carefully), attach it to paper on the back so the tape doesn't stick to anything else, and viola, you have your quilt.

So there you have it.  A social studies/math connection....that produces and AWESOME final product :)

And just in case, here is the duct tape I used. I bought two rolls, which worked out well for the entire quilt of 30 squares.


  1. that's awesome. great job, i can't wait to start my own.

  2. This is great! Makes me wish I still taught middle school social studies.

    Thinking Out Loud

  3. Love the squares. This is perfect for our colonies study and the reading we are doing. This art project will be a bright addition to our day. Thanks for sharing the idea.

  4. Those are beautiful! I love the idea of combining the two subjects.

  5. I love the math, social studies, art combo... and it looks amazing too! I can't wait to start this in my class, but we must do the 13 colonies thinking maps first. Thanks for all the amazing ideas!

  6. Too cool!! Thanks for sharing! :)

  7. Great Idea!!! This is a way to tie together so many math concepts.

  8. I love the idea you posted on my blog about having students create nets! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Wow! what a fabulous quilt. Clever children. Thanks for sharing.


  10. This is amazing! My 6th graders would love this! Time to work on fractions :)
    To The Square Inch

  11. Steph this is fantastic! What an amazing way to integrate the curriculum! You're amazing!
    It turned out beautiful, I love it!

    Hope you have a great week!
    ❤ Mor Zrihen from...
    A Teacher's Treasure
    Teaching Treasures Shop

    1. Thanks!! That is so sweet of you to say. :) And I hope that you have a great week as well!

    2. Mr.Kirk I messed up on my 20 by 20 Quilt grid what should I do.

      Dylan Meadows

  12. Very cool.i hope I can come up with a way to do something similar for 2nd graders.

  13. This is so great! I love interdisciplinary projects and it's nice to see Social Studies combined with a subject other than English. Can't wait to try this in my classroom.

  14. I love this! I am "borrowing" it for next week, since some classes will be testing and I will have my homeroom during math. It will be nice to be able to connect social studies and math in this way since normally I only have 3 homeroom students in my math class. Thanks so much for the idea!

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  16. Just wondering how did you have students count the triangles? since some squares are not exactly halves?


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