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Scotland's Perfect Plaids

Bring on the bagpipes! Gather the clan! Students create an original tartan plaid, and craft a kilt or scarf with the fabric.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. While investigating the people and culture of Scotland, students look into the fascinating history and meaning of Scottish clans and their tartan colors and patterns. During this investigation, encourage children to select colors for personal plaids to represent their families.
    2. After covering their work area with recycled newspaper, students use Crayola® Colored Pencils to sketch their personal Scottish plaids. Once the sketch is complete, it becomes a model for the fabric. Students use Crayola Fabric Crayons on white paper to re-create their designs in reverse so that when ironed it will come out correctly. Encourage the use of a heavy layer of crayon so the colors are deep and distinct.
    3. On a flat surface, students place several blank sheets of white paper over layers of newspaper in preparation for ironing. Place white synthetic fabric (not 100% cotton) on the paper, face up. Lay designs face down. Top with white paper. An adult sets an iron on cotton, with no steam, and preheats it. The adult places the iron in one spot, presses down, then lifts and moves the iron to another spot until the entire design is transferred. Allow time for design on garment to cool. WHile cooling, an adult will unplug the iron which will also need to cool.
    4. To create a two-dimensional figure to model plaid designs, students draw a person on a recycled file folder and cut it out using Crayola Scissors. A kilt or scarf can be added with the Scottish plaid for figures. Display completed designs prominently in the classroom.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, e vents, and elements of culture.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Story of Scotland by Richard Brassey; Katie in Scotland by James Mayhew; The Coming of the Unicorn: Scottish Folk Tales for Children by Duncan Williamson; This Is Edinburgh by Miroslav Sasek

    Encourage students to research family names from Scotland. Research their tartans. Students illustrate the tartan and display the illustration with the family name written below.

    Invite a local musician, or the school's music teacher, to play traditional Scot songs using bagpipes. If possible, students learn traditional dances to accompany the playing of the songs. How do you play the bagpipes? Investigate with the musician.

    Students research Scottish clans to find out specific names and their tartan patterns and colors. Duplicate chosen tartans.

    Students investigate industries of Scotland. Design posters or museum displays depicting major businesses in Scotland. How does knowing about their successful businesses provide insight into life in Scotland?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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