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Activity Info
Title: Quilting Area
Learning Target: I can find the area of a rectangle with whole-number side lengths by tiling it. I can explain that the area of a rectangular shape can be found by multiplying the side lengths.
Grade: 3
Math KCAS: 3.MD.7
Relate area to the operations of multiplication and addition. a. Find the area of a rectangle with whole-number side lengths by tiling it, and show that the area is the same as would be found by multiplying the side lengths. b. Multiply side lengths to find areas of rectangles with wholenumber side lengths in the context of solving real world and mathematical problems, and represent whole-number products as rectangular areas in mathematical reasoning. c. Use tiling to show in a concrete case that the area of a rectangle with whole-number side lengths a and b + c is the sum of a x b and a x c. Use area models to represent the distributive property in mathematical reasoning. d. Recognize area as additive. Find areas of rectilinear figures by decomposing them into non-overlapping rectangles and adding the areas of the non-overlapping parts, applying this technique to solve real world problems.

ELA KCAS: None provided.
Title: Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
Author: D. Hopkinson
ISBN10: 0679874720
ISBN13: 978-067987472
Lexile Reading Level: AD680
Activity Descriptors
Formative Assessment Strategy:

Describe the formative assessment(s) that could be used to measure student progress during this lesson:

  • Students will create their own “quilts” using graph paper. Students must identify the multiplication sentence that matches the array they have created.

  • Questions to ask students:

    • How did you find your side length?

    • Do you have any patterns in your design?

    • How do you know the total area of your “quilt” is correct?

    • What if I added/took away “___” tiles on one side of your “quilt?” How would that change the area?

  • Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

  • Tiles (1-inch squares)

  • 10 x 10 Square Graph paper

  • Colored pencils/markers/crayons

  • Optional: Pattern Blocks

  • Optional: Ruler
  • Computer
  • Optional: Projector
  • PowerPoint with pictures of quilts
  • Student Chart Worksheet


  1. Brainstorm background knowledge about quilts. Record student thinking on chart paper, etc.

  2. Read Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt out loud to students.

  3. Display pictures of quilts in the PowerPoint. Revise student thinking chart to reflect new knowledge about quilts.


  1. Allow students to create a rectangular array with square tiles. Ask students, “How many tiles did you use to create your array?”

  2. Create a class chart where students identify the side lengths they used to create their arrays and the total number of square tiles used.



Side Length

Side Length

Total Tiles Used



  1. Ask students if they notice any connections between the side lengths and total tiles used. Students may recognize the two sides can be multiplied to find the total number of tiles. Do NOT identify it as area yet.

  2. Allow students time to create more rectangular arrays, discovering the pattern of length x width=total area. Students should record their observations on their own charts.


  1. Introduce the term “area” and how to find area of a rectangular shape (length x width).

  2. Ask students where they may observe tiling or area of rectangular shapes in real-life (ex. tiling on the floor, kitchen, bathroom, etc.; laying carpet; gardens, etc.)

  3. You may choose to discuss patterns with quilts to review this concept.

  4. Explain to students that they will now create their own “quilt” using graph paper. Students can choose to make their “quilt” as big or small as they want on the paper, but it must be rectangular. (Students can be encouraged to make patterns within their quilts.)


  1. Allow students time to independently create their “quilts” and ask students to identify the total area using a multiplication sentence.

Variations, Connections, or Follow-up Suggestions
  • Read The Keeping Quilt (P.Polacco, 1988) and use ELA standards 3.RL.2 to discuss diverse cultures, 3.RL.3 to describe characters and explain how their interactions contribute to the sequence of events, or 3.RL.6 to distinguish their own point of view from that of the narator or characters.
  • Use graph paper and require students to create quilts that have fractional parts (pattern blocks can be used to make this more hands-on for students).

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