Class Penny Quilt


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)

  • Circulating Coins


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

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Social Studies
  • Language Arts


  • K
  • 1st
  • 2nd

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.

Lesson Steps

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.

    Common Core Standards

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

    National Standards

    This lesson plan is not associated with any National Standards.