Creating Roman Mosaics for Art and History

We have been studying Ancient Rome for our homeschool history, and decided to experiment a little with Roman Mosaics.

Our first experiment involved pieces of construction paper that we cut into tiny squares.  We filled them in a little haphazardly onto a piece of paper I'd hastily drawn a ship on.  It was fun and gave the kids the basic understanding of what a Mosaic consisted of.

But after some thought, I decided to create a more carefully planned Mosaic project for us (and for you!) in order to practice mosaics in a more mathematical, planned way.  This packet is for sale in our store, but let me run through it here, so you get an idea of what it takes to complete. 

There are three options for kids to choose from in the packet.  My daughter chose the Roman flower.  My son chose the Roman Ship.  Each child who is planning on completing a mosaic will need two sheets:  their design page, and the sheet that contains the tiles or "tesserae" that they will need in order to fill in their design.

There was a lot of scissor cutting involved.  I helped my five year old daughter to cut out her tesserae.  I'm not sure this would be the best craft for every five year old.  My daughter leans toward the artsy side and she enjoyed this immensely, but I actually set the age rating on this packet for 5th, 6th and 7th.

My son cut out ALL of his little tiles before he began gluing.  I'm not sure this was the best way to go.  The Roman Ship Mosaic is probably the hardest of the three options and involves the most tesserae.  But, he was determined with his system and kept all tiles of a color together in small piles as he cut the rest.

The Roman Flower has three different varying shades of pink or red, and there is a legend which explains which letter on the design goes to which color.  "Wine" or "W" was for the darkest red.  "Pink" or "P" is for pink, the lightest, and "R" or "Rose" is for the medium shade of pink.  So, you can work in a bit of color vocabulary with your lesson, which might be helpful.

We used regular, generic old glue-sticks and it worked just fine.  I do recommend card-stock for your print-outs to make it a tad easier for the tesserae to be picked up and glued down.

The tiles are small, but it looks so nice as the designs start to come together!

And the finished designs are beautiful and yet help convey the time and effort that it must have taken the ancient Romans to complete their own intricate works.

Check out our latest store addition:  Roman Mosaics for Art and History!  And share with us in the comments, how you explore Ancient Rome in your supplements and activities.


Growing Grade By Grade said...

Christina, I love your post about mosaics! You included so many helpful pictures and step-by-step instructions. I especially appreciate your caveats about what worked and didn't work for your children - a great trouble-saver for teachers! Btw, I love your blog format and graphics - it's so attractive! Best wishes!

Bernadette said...

These projects are beautiful and they look so proud of themselves <3

LearningWithMrsKirk said...

Wow! I have always loved mosaics! My favorites are some murals with tile mosaics in San Antonio, TX. This activity is a great way for younger kids to learn about mosaics and practice fine motor skills while cutting and gluing! Thanks for sharing!

Christina Morrison said...

Pat, thank you so much! Having once been a primary teacher I try to look for those "caveats" as you say! :) I understand how much they help. Thanks for all the compliments.

Christina Morrison said...

Thank you, Bernadette! :) They really *were* proud of themselves with this project. Both turned out so nice.

Christina Morrison said...

Ooooo, I would love to see those mosaics in San Antonio! They sound like a lot of fun. Thanks for mentioning them.