March 22


Quilted and Printed Geometry Project

By Leah Folk

March 22, 2023

Previous geometry students of Mrs. Elking will recall creating quilts incorporating the creative side of the project with the angles and designs learned in class. This year, the honors geometry students got to tackle a new concept for this lesson and create encoded 3D-printed “quilt” squares. 

This idea came together through learning that in the time of the Underground Railroad, guides and safe houses used codes hidden in quilts to help convey messages to those seeking refugee. 

“According to legend, a safe house along the Underground Railroad was often indicated by a quilt hanging from a clothesline or windowsill. These quilts were embedded with a kind of code, so that by reading the shapes and motifs sewn into the design, an enslaved person on the run could know the area’s immediate dangers or even where to head next.” – Marie Claire Bryant.

Students in Mrs. Elking’s class designed three-dimensional quilt squares using personal symbols-imitating a code-then imported the symbols as vector files to be 3D printed and assembled together. By creating a class cipher, and adding meaning to their class code, they were able to create something similar to the quilts of the time. “Getting to use the 3D printers for this really made the whole project that much cooler,” said one student. “It was like three classes in one-I learned so much throughout the lesson!”

Ursuline’s 3D printers are part of the growing innovation space, where all faculty, classes, and students are challenged to be creative in using technology, learning, and hands-on projects.

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