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What is Turtlestitch?

Turtlestitch is freely available software that enables the generation and stitching of patterns using a digital embroidery machine. It gives programmatic control of the machine, enabling a wide range of patterns to be designed and stitched onto fabric. It was developed by Andrea Mayr-Stalder, and runs in a browser window.

    • TurtleStitch CPD - An introduction to TurtleStitch for teachers and adults wishing to use it.

    Online learning: programming and maths

    TurtlestitchLink opens in a new window is used by WMG for outreach activities, as a means of raising awareness of the breadth of engineering. The WMG Outreach team has created a number of resource cards and video tutorials to support its use by teachers, parents and students, including maths task cards suitable for upper key stage 2 (school years 5 and 6). Children work out the answers to maths questions and check them using Turtlestitch.

    Parental supervision is advised when accessing external websites.


    The cards can be viewed online or printed individually or in sets. To print the full sets of cards, we recommend setting your printer to print landscape on both sides and flip on short edge.

    Teacher training

    Book an online teacher training session about using Turtlestitch to teach computing and maths.


    Share pictures of your designs with us on Twitter @wmgwarwick #WMGOutreach

    For enquiries about the cards and videos or to report an error, please email wmgoutreach at warwick dot ac dot uk dot

    Lesson plans - years 5 and 6

    We have created cross-curricular lesson plans for the years 5 and 6 maths and computing programmes of study. Each lesson plan contains links to videos for teachers to familiarise themselves with the content in advance, and activity cards for children to use during the lesson. Each lesson takes 50-60 minutes, but could be broken down into shorter activities.

    Learning objective

    Lesson 1

    Maths and computing (years 5 & 6)

    We are learning to calculate missing angles on a straight line.

    Lesson 2

    Maths and computing (years 5 & 6)

    We are learning to apply our knowledge of properties of shapes. 

    Optional L3

    Maths and computing (year 6)

    We are learning to find the highest common factor of two numbers.

    Lesson 4Link opens in a new window

    Maths and computing (years 5 & 6)

    We are learning to use variables in programs. 

    Basic skills

    Writing programs on Turtlestitch

    green and blue turtlestitch commands
    Getting started: video & card
    save project box
    Saving your file: video
    black lines crossing in a circular pattern on a purple background
    Displaying your design without a machine: video
    twelve overlapping blue squares in a circular pattern
    Creating patterns with shapes and rotation: video & card
    different coloured turtlestitch command blocks, including one called my block, next to a pattern of 24 blue squares overlapping in a circular formation
    Creating your own block: video & card
    large and small blue squares overlapping in a circular pattern
    Stitching a shape in different sizes: video & card
    a star drawn from blue lines crossing over each other
    Creating a star and other shapes: card
    a triangular spiral
    Creating your own variable: video & card

    Printable set of skills cards - set your printer to print landscape on both sides and flip on short edge.


    Practise year 5 and 6 maths using Turtlestitch
    Part of a nonagon with an interior angle marked as 140 degrees and a letter b showing the missing angle on the straight lign next to it

    Missing angles on a line: questions & answers

    a triangle labeled as equilateral, with interior angles totaling 180 degrees. The letter a shows a missing interior angle, and the letter b shows a missing angle on the line next to it.

    Properties of shapes: questions & answers

    an intricate pattern next to colourful blocks of code

    Highest common factor: questions & answers

    a grid with four quadrants and blue lines which look like a mountain range reflected in water

    Coordinates: introduction

    Translation: questions & answers

    Printable set of maths cards - set your printer to print landscape on both sides and flip on short edge.


    Things to make with a digital embroidery machine
    4 yellow and white felt coasters with patterns stitched on them

    Coaster: card

    three felt finger puppets in green and brown with eyes stuck on

    Finger puppet: card

    a white leatherette key fob with the letters w m g stitch on it in red. It is joined to a key ring with keys on it.

    Key fob: card

    red paper in a frame with holes in it in the shape of stars with many points. White paper standing in a cylinder shape, with holes in it in the shape of stars. Light glows through the papers.

    Light/lamp panel: card

    Printable set of project cards - set your printer to print landscape on both sides and flip on short edge.


    Concepts to explore
    a tree drawn with blue lines

    Recursion and creating a binary tree: card

    several different blue spiral patterns made from thin lines criss-crossing

    Spirals: questions, answers & video

    Printable set of investigation cards - set your printer to print landscape on both sides and flip on short edge.

    Teacher CPD sessions

    TurtleStitch CPD. An introduction to TurtleStitch aimed at teachers wishing to use it in their classrooms. Adults with an interest in using TurtleStitch are also welcome to attend. The next session will be 4th October 2023. Register your interest here.

    Resources created by
    Helen Luckhurst.