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Class Penny Quilt

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Students will learn about penny quilts made in the late 1700s through the early 1800s. They will then identify significant events from their lives and create their own class penny quilt displaying this information.

Coin Type(s)

  • Cent

Coin Program(s)

  • Generic


  • Students will identify significant events in their life.
  • Students will appreciate similarities and differences among their peers.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies


  • Kindergarten
  • First grade
  • Second grade

Class Time

Sessions: One
Session Length: 20-30 minutes
Total Length: 0-45 minutes


  • Whole group

Terms and Concepts

  • Cent
  • Events
  • Quilt


  • A computer with access to the Internet
  • Coin Facts:  Large Cents at
  • Drawing paper cut into squares (size can be determined by teacher)
  • A circle pattern (about 3 centimeters in diameter)
  • Pennies (enough for each student to be able to trace)


  • Prior to begining this lesson, access the Coin Facts Web site listed under Materials (online).  Print copies of the different varieties of Large Cents. Copy and enlarge each coin image to share with your students when presenting this activity..
  • Cut drawing paper into equal-sized squares for the class quilt.
  • Cut card stock into equal-sized circles for tracing.
  • Gather pennies for tracing.

Background information:  This activity is based on a type of quilt known as a penny quilt.  They were called penny quilts because quilters (usually women) needed a round template to make circle patterns for their quilts.  From the time the United States government first began minting coins at the end of the 1700s through the mid 1800s, the Mint produced several varieties of the “Large Cent.” Quilters often used the Large Cent to trace circles onto fabric, which would then be sewn onto a quilt as part of a pattern.

  1. Explain to your class that together they are going to make a type of penny quilt.  Each student will make a square that will be a part of a class quilt.
  2. Each student will need to think of something that happened in their life that was very important to them.  They can brainstorm different ideas together as a class.  This would be a good homework assignment to do with family at home.
  3. Once your students have decided on their “significant event,” they need to determine the year it happened.  On their paper, the students need to write their event.
  4. In the center of their quilt square, have your students trace a circulating penny and date it with the year of the significant event.
  5. Then have the students trace a circle pattern about the size of a large cent (about 3 centimeters in diameter) to create a design on their quilt square.
  6. Each student can share with the class their significant event and the year it happened.  The “penny quilt” can be displayed in the class.

Differentiated Learning Options

Students could make a penny quilt for the future. They could include dates and significant events they hope to accomplish.


Students could make a penny quilt for the future. They could include dates and significant events they hope to accomplish.

Students can be assessed on their ability to follow directions when creating their individual quilt squares.

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

This lesson plan is not associated with any Common Core Standards.

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Individual Development and Identity
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • assist learners in articulating personal connections to time, place, and social/cultural systems
  •  help learners to appreciate and describe the influence of cultures, past and  present, upon the daily lives of individuals
  • assist learners to describe how family, religion, gender, ethnicity, nationality, socioeconomic status, and other group and cultural influences contribute to the development of a sense of self
  • have learners apply concepts, inquiry, methods, and theories in the study of human growth and development, learning, motivation, behavior, perception, and personality
  • guide learners as they analyze the interactions among ethical, ethnic, national, and cultural factors in specific situations
  • help learners to analyze the role of perceptions, attitudes, values, and beliefs in the development of personal identity and their effect upon human behavior
  • have learners compare and evaluate the impact of stereotyping, conformity, acts of altruism, discrimination, and other behaviors on individuals and groups
  • help learners understand how individual perceptions develop, vary, and can lead to conflict
  • assist learners as they work independently and cooperatively within groups and institutions to accomplish goals
  • enable learners to examine factors that contribute to and damage one’s mental health; and analyze issues related to mental health and behavioral disorders in contemporary society

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: Culture and Cultural Diversity
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • assist learners to understand and apply the concept of culture as an integrated whole that governs the functions and interactions of language, literature, arts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behavior patterns
  • enable learners to analyze and explain how groups, societies, and cultures address human needs and concerns
  • guide learners as they predict how experiences may be interpreted by people from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference
  • encourage learners to compare and analyze societal patterns for transmitting and preserving culture while adapting to environmental and social change
  • enable learners to assess the importance of cultural unity and diversity within and across groups
  • have learners interpret patterns of behavior as reflecting values and attitudes which contribute to or pose obstacles to cross-cultural understanding
  • guide learners in constructing reasoned judgments about specific cultural responses to persistent human issues
  • have learners explain and apply ideas, theories, and modes of inquiry drawn from anthropology and sociology in the examination of persistent issues and social problems

Discipline: Social Studies
Domain: All Thematic Standards
Cluster: People, Places, and Environment
Grade(s): Grades K–12

Teachers should:

  • Enable learners to use, interpret, and distinguish various representations of Earth such as maps, globes, and photographs, and to use appropriate geographic tools
  • Encourage learners to construct, use, and refine maps and mental maps, calculate distance, scale, area, and density, and organize information about people, places, regions, and environments in a spatial context
  • Help learners to locate, distinguish, and describe the relationships among varying regional and global patterns of physical systems such as landforms, climate, and natural resources, and explain changes in the physical systems
  • Guide learners in exploring characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • Have learners describe how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, current values and ideals, and government policies
  • Provide opportunities for learners to examine, interpret, and analyze interactions of human beings and their physical environments, and to observe and analyze social and economic effects of environmental changes, both positive and negative
  • Challenge learners to consider, compare, and evaluate existing uses of resources and land in communities, regions, countries, and the world
  • Direct learners to explore ways in which Earth’s physical features have changed over time, and describe and assess ways historical events have influenced and been influenced by physical and human geographic features