Aboriginal Perspectives


Decimal Fractions and Star Quilts

Alison Kimbley


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Subject Area:




Grade Level:


Content (topic)

Comparing decimal numbers and fractions


Outcome N4.7:

Demonstrate an understanding of decimal numbers in tenths and hundredths (pictorially, orally, in writing, and symbolically) by:

  • describing
  • representing
  • relating to fractions.


  1. Write the decimal for a concrete or pictorial representation of part of a set, part of a region, or part of a unit of measure.

  2. Represent a decimal concretely or pictorially.
  1. Read and write decimals as fractions (e.g., 0.5 is zero and five tenths).

  2. Express orally and in symbolic form a decimal in fractional form.

  3. Express orally and in symbolic form a fraction with a denominator of 10 or 100 as a decimal.

  4. Express a pictorial or concrete representation as a fraction or decimal (e.g., 15 shaded squares on a hundred grid can be expressed as 0.15 or 15/100).

  5. Express orally and in symbolic form the decimal equivalent for a fraction (e.g., 50/100 can be expressed as 0.50).

Mathematical Processes:


Lesson Preparation:



  • A picture of a whole star quilt
  • A cut out small diamond template for each student
  • 8 large cut out diamond templates
  • Every student will need a ruler.
  • Glue
  • Colored pencils
  • Cardboard which can be easily cut – cereal boxes work really well.

Advanced Preparation:

  • Read the background information on Star Quilts.
  • Create one cardboard template of the large diamond- cereal boxes work well.
  • Create one cardboard template of the small diamonds for each student



  • Stars are seen in the Lakota culture as a traditional symbol and central to many celebrations and ceremonies. The star quilt is known and respected as a powerful symbol, binding the community together and strengthening ties between generations. 

  • Using the PowerPoint show the students the picture of the star quilt and ask the students to count how many colors they can see within the design.

  • Notice the symmetry in the design and how the design is repeated on each of the eight points of the star.

  • If possible show the students a variety of star quilts.  Tell the students that they are going to create a star quilt on paper.


  • Tell the students that they are going to create a star quilt on paper.

  • Divide the class into eight small groups and hand out the supplies to each group: one template of a large diamonds and one smaller diamonds for each student. 

  • Ask the students in each group to use the small templates to trace diamonds on white paper until each group has 25 small diamonds.

  • Have each of the groups create a design for a star quilt by coloring some of the small diamonds and placing them on the large diamond. When each of the group has created a design. From the 8 designs created by the students decide which will be used for the class star quilt, this can be done for example through a vote or a draw.

  • Once a design is chosen have each of the 8 groups cut out 25 more small diamonds and duplicate the chosen design. Have each group glue the 25 small diamonds onto their large diamond and form the 8 large diamonds into a star quilt.

  • Cover up or remove half the star quilt and observe that the half remaining is composed of 100 small diamonds. Write each color used in the star quilt on the board and ask the students to discover the fraction of each color both as a fraction and a decimal. 

  • Use the half star quilt to explore fractions and decimals both orally and in written form.