Quilting Bee—Assembly Line Style

3, 4, 5

Students will determine the specific skills needed to produce the chosen quilt then decide upon their own area of specialization. Labor will be divided and production will commence—assembly line style.

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne to Two Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learner will:

  • describe how they act as a producer and a consumer.
  • Charlie Needs a Cloak
  • Vocabulary (see Attachment One)
  • Chart paper
  • Donated clothing (preferably 100% woven cotton) from previous lesson
  • Scissors
  • Rulers
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing needles
  • Thread
  • Yarn/embroidery floss
  • Batting
  • Backing fabric
  • Sewing machine

dePaola, Tomie. Charlie Needs a Cloak. New York: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1988, c1973.


  1. Anticipatory Set:Read aloud Charlie Needs a Cloak. As you reread the story have the children list the different special skills that Charlie needed to produce his cloak.

  2. Define and give examples for the Key Words: assembly line, division of labor, labor, specialize (see Vocabulary, Attachment One).

  3. Ask the children to list the skills that they will need to make a quilt for their chosen project on chart paper. (Refer to the specific project background for specifications.) Keep the chart displayed throughout the unit.

  4. Ask each student to decide, from the skills listed, which is his or her best skill. Tell students that the skill they listed is their area of specialization.

  5. Divide the labor and proceed to assemble the quilt top assembly-line style.

  6. Teacher Note: In order for this to be a philanthropic experience, opportunity for some of the assembly to take place outside of the normal instruction schedule should be given (recess, before or after school) so that the students are truly giving of their time, talents and treasures!

  7. The teacher or another adult will need to machine stitch the quilt top for reinforcement and machine sew the top, batting, and backing together. Finish the quilt in the manner specified for the chosen project.

  8. Once the tasks have been completed, ask students to describe when they were acting as consumers and when they were acting as producers on this project.


The teacher should observe active participation by all students.

Cross Curriculum 

All students will participate in the production of the chosen service learning project based on their own areas of specialization.


Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.
      2. Benchmark E.4 Demonstrate the skills needed for the successful performance of the volunteer job.