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3D Quilt Codes

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Location: Room 346-7
Experience live: All-Access Package
Watch recording: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package

Explore and create : Creation lab

Leticia Citizen  
Judy Nguyen  

During this hands-on workshop, we will link 2D design/3D modeling to collaborative quilting bees and the use of symbols and codes in hanging quilts that guided enslaved African people and their descendants to freedom. Be prepared to personalize your coded quilt with symbols that represent your story.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Laptop with access to Wakelet, Google Drawings, Tinkercad
Topic: Creativity & curation tools
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Manage the use of technology and student learning strategies in digital platforms, virtual environments, hands-on makerspaces or in the field.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will learn about the legend of how a safe house along the Underground Railroad was often indicated by a quilt hanging from a clothesline or windowsill.

Participants will create four symbols using Google Drawings, to download images as PNG files.

Participants will design a three-dimensional quilt using personal symbols (as code), then import the symbols as SVG files into Tinkercad 3D Design to create 3D patterned quilts.


15 mins - Quilt Codes of the Underground Railroad
10 mins - Symbol Reflection Exercise in Jamboard
20 mins - Drawing Quilt Squares in Google Drawings
10 mins - Tinkercad Lesson
20 mins - Creating 3D Quilt with Tinkercad
10 mins - Sharing
5 mins - Reflection Space

Using Wakelet to present, presenters will guide participants to
* use shared link to join Wakelet to access all activities.
* annotate primary sources about the Underground Railroad and Quilt Codes.
* reflect on a Jamboard about symbols that represent their lives
* use Google Drawings to draw symbols chosen in Jamboard activity
* convert downloaded “png” files from Google Drawings to “svg” files
* Upload “svg” files to Tinkercad to create a 4x4 quilt to tell their story

Supporting research

The lesson was modified from the original lesson “3D Quilt Codes and the Tinkercad Cypher” created by Dr. Nettrice Gaskins (
It is a framework rooted in STEAM, culturally response resources, and the design thinking process.

This lesson was supported by STAR, a Biogen Foundation Initiative. The Lesley Team includes faculty and staff in the Lesley STEAM Learning Lab, Science in Education, the Center for Mathematics Achievement, and other related Lesley University departments and programs.

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Leticia Citizen, Hawthorne School

Leticia Citizen, a 22-year educator, is an i4Coach with a particular interest in technology-enhanced teaching and global connections. As a result, she implements many applications available to teachers, helping augment their students’ learning, modernizing traditional classroom methods. Leticia dedicates her life to social justice, teaching through an equity lens, and providing intentional and engaging PD. She is co-founder of Equity In Action, CA and Tech.Teach.Grow, LLC. Leticia currently serves as an ambassador and trainer for varying digital tools including Nearpod, Wakelet, Newsela, and Flipgrid. She’s Google Certified and an MIE Expert.

Judy Nguyen, All Covered Education

Judy, Teaching & Learning Consultant for All Covered, has been an educator for over 15 years. She previously taught in a 1:1 laptop environment at Rosary Academy. When Rosary adopted a campus-wide 1:1 laptop program, Judy accepted the position of Director of Educational Technology. In this role, she supported teachers with blended/flipped instruction and developed an online summer program. Judy passionately loves working with teachers to accomplish their educational goals. Currently, Judy has been partnering with teachers to experiment on effectively integrating 3D Building, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality into their curriculum.

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