TESSELLATE A CLASS QUILT – Shape, Colour, Contrast

Students draw themselves as an animal on a hexagon shape and then tessellate the portraits to create a class quilt.

Required Time

60 Minutes

Grade Level

Grade 1 to Grade 3


Language Arts
Visual Arts


colour contrast hexagon shape square tessellation triangle


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TESSELLATE A CLASS QUILT – Shape, Colour, Contrast - Step One

Step One

  1. Place your paper on the desk in the portrait position. (Short side facing up.)
  2. Use a pencil.
  3. Draw the shape of your head so it fills the hexagon shape.
  4. Draw yourself as your favourite animal.
  5. Use a cartoon style.
TESSELLATE A CLASS QUILT – Shape, Colour, Contrast - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Outline your pencil drawing with black marker.
  2. Colour the whole shape using coloured pencils.
  3. Build up lots of colour to make your drawing stand out.
  4. Use a contrasting colour for the background of your picture.
TESSELLATE A CLASS QUILT – Shape, Colour, Contrast - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Carefully cut along the lines of your hexagon.
  2. Work together to tessellate all the hexagons into a class quilt.
  3. Try to arrange the shapes so that contrasting colours are beside each other.

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • identify 3 regular tessellations;
  • identify and use contrasting colours;
  • create a portrait of themselves as an animal;
  • work cooperatively to tessellate their portraits; 
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.


Have students:

  • use a tracer of an equilateral triangle, a square or a hexagon to draw the shape on different colours of construction paper; (Downloads - RegularPolygons.pdf)
  • cut out the shapes;
  • tessellate the shapes to create a pattern with a specific colour scheme;
  • glue the shapes in place;
  • compare their tessellation with others.


  1. Download images of tessellations in nature from the Internet, e.g.,
    Fish Scales
  2. Gather and make available books and pictures of patterns and tessellations, for example, Toads and Tessellations: A Math Adventure, by Sharon Morrisette; I See a Pattern Here, by Bruce Goldstone; Pitter Pattern, by Joyce Hesselberth; and TessellationsIntroduction to Tessellations, by Dale Seymour and Jill Britton.
  3. Prior to this lesson have students explore drawing cartoon animals and especially their faces using books such as How to Draw Cartoon Animals for Kids, by Julie Smith; The Step-by-Step Drawing Book for Kids: A Children's Beginners Book on How-To-Draw Animals, Cartoons, Planes and Boats, by Peanut Prodigy; and A Kid's Guide to Drawing Cartoon Animals, by Vicki Whiting, and Jeff Schinkel.
  4. Download and display the Repetition, Rhythm, and Contrast posters available on this website.
  5. Download and copy the hexagon template - one per student. (Downloads - HexagonTemplate.pdf)
  6. Cut 3 hexagon shapes out of construction paper to demonstrate how they fit together with no gaps and no overlaps.


  1. View and discuss the images of tessellations in nature.
  2. Review or introduce the term tessellation.
    patterns of repeated shapes that cover a flat surface with no gaps and no overlaps
  3. Discuss what kinds of regular shapes can tessellate and why.
    - regular polygons (triangles, squares and hexagons)
    - regular polygons can only tessellate if the sum of the interior angles is 360 degrees
  4. Demonstrate how the hexagon tessellates and always has room for another hexagon.
  5. Explain that they are going to use the shape of a hexagon to make a class quilt. Each person's individual hexagon will fit with the others to make the whole class.
  6. Introduce the challenge. 


The Challenge

  1. Create a portrait of yourself as your favourite animal.
  2. Use contrasting colours.
  3. Draw in a cartoon style.
  4. Cut along the lines of the hexagon.
  5. Work cooperatively to tessellate your portrait with those of the rest of the class.
  6. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.

The Process

  1. Make sure everyone understands the challenge.
  2. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have:
    - created a portrait of myself as an animal
    - used contrasting colours 
    - drawn in a cartoon style
    - used my own ideas
    - cut along the lines of the hexagon
    - kept the paper is in good condition
    - worked with others to tessellate my drawing with the others
  3. Guide students through the steps outlined in this lesson plan.
  4. Observe students as they work. 
  5. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Have students gather in front of their class quilt to view it with fresh eyes. Ask students to:
    Look closely at the whole quilt.
    - Choose one part that interests you for some reason.
    - Tell why you chose that section and what interests you about it.
  2. During the discussion include references to:
    Contrasting Colours - How does the use of contrasting colours move your eye through the quilt?
    - Portraits - What makes the portraits interesting and unique?
    - Style - What do you like best about the cartoon style?
    - Quilt - What does the quilt say about our class?


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their drawings – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the drawing, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads - ClassQuilt_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads - ClassQuilt_self-assessment.pdf)