Friday, September 2, 2011

Getting Ready for Geometry

Readiness for Euclidean geometry can be gained by teaching intuitive geometry or by giving children an opportunity to build increasingly elaborate constructions with polygons (closed plane figures having three or more straight sides)
-Jerome S. Bruner , 1966

Many quilt blocks allow us to experience polygons in a special way. Boys and girls alike are enticed by the colors, textures and patterns of traditional quilts. Earlier this year my niece Marlene provided passage on a quilter's cruise for me. Some gift, right? Classes were filled by the time I registered so before sailing I cut all the pieces for a tangram block quilt (green, yellow & red-- see my quilt block layout above) to piece together by hand. In 2000, when The Warlord's Puzzle hit bookstore shelves, a master quilter in upstate New York designed this tangram block. For detailed instructions see my newly updated website on the bottom of the "For Teachers" section. Quilt block pieces may be enlarged to suit. During scheduled "Quilt at Sea" classes, I settled myself on a comfortable deck chair and stitched my tangram blocks. Passengers strolling by stopped to ask about my colorful project. I "just happened" to have a copy of The Warlord's Puzzle and chatted about how touching, arranging, and sewing plane geometric figures helps prepare children to learn Euclidean geometry. During my seven day cruise I met lots of delightful people and was able to piece an entire lap-quilt top. Now I am hand-quilting the sandwich of quilt top, batting and backing. I find my bright handcraft perfect for the slow times at book signings--a fine conversation starter about picture book crafts and mathematics learning. If you choose, you'll find this project perfect to share with your favorite kids--an equally fine conversation starter about squares, triangles, rhomboid parallelograms and practical geometry.

The picture below is one of my fellow sailer/quilter's take on the tangram pattern. For instructions on paper-quilting the tangram block request pattern & instruction from

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog and your quilt and I'm now following your blog!