Byzantine Empire Mosaics Lesson Plan

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson plan uses a couple of mini-activities, a large activity, an extension, a quiz, and discussion questions to teach your students about Byzantine art.

Learning Objectives

Using this lesson's suggested activities, extension, quiz, and discussion questions your students must be able to:

  • Explain the rise and importance of Byzantine art
  • Describe why so much of this art has been lost to history
  • Identify the symbolism within major pieces of Byzantine art


30-60 minutes without the activity


  • Rigid/thick and colorful cardboard
  • Colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • White poster board

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.8.1

Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.


By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6-8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


Warm Up Mini-Activity

  • At the beginning of class, show (but do not label) several images up on the class screen:
    • A painting
    • A mosaic
    • A sculpture
    • A photograph
    • A classical building
  • Each student should come up to the screen and guess which one represents a mosaic. They should explain why they think that one is a mosaic.


  • Play the following video lesson for the class:
  • After you've watched the entire video, pause for a class discussion:
    • What was the Byzantine Empire?
    • Mini-activity: show a map of the world. Pick on a student (or many) to come up to the class screen and identify where they believe the Byzantine Empire was.
    • What are mosaics?
    • Who created mosaics during Byzantine times?
    • What was iconoclasm?
    • Discuss why iconoclasm occurred.
    • Describe how propaganda played a part in Byzantine mosaics
    • What are icons?
    • Compare/contrast icons from an artistic perspective

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