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Roman Mosaics Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Mosaics were a favorite art form of the ancient Romans, and in this lesson plan your students will have a chance to learn what this art looked like, as well as practice it themselves.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify and explain mosaics as an art form
  • Understand the role that mosaics played in ancient Roman society
  • Analyze the artistic and personal choices that go into commissioning and creating mosaics

Length

60 - 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.4

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.3

Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

Materials

  • Copies of the text lesson Ancient Roman Mosaic Lesson for Kids: Facts and History and lesson quiz, one for each student
  • Printed black and white images of Roman gods, people, or scenes. These are going to be the templates for the mosaics, so dependent upon the size of the picture, you may want to enlarge them.
  • ''Tesserae''
  • Glue or rubber cement
  • Optional: White sheets for togas

Instructions

  • Explain that wealthy ancient Romans lived in large homes called villas and that they were so proud of their homes that they liked to decorate them.
  • Ask the class to brainstorm various ways that Romans could have decorated their homes (furniture, paintings, sculptures, etc.).
  • Hand out the Ancient Roman Mosaic Lesson for Kids: Facts and History text lesson.
  • Have students take turns reading aloud the introduction, as well as the 'What are Mosaics?' and 'How are Mosaics Made?' sections. Ask the class the following questions:
    • How is a mosaic different than a painting?
    • How is a mosaic similar to a painting?
    • How much time do you think it would take to make a large mosaic?
  • Have student read the 'Mosaic Art' section and the 'Lesson Summary'. Discuss:
    • Where did Romans like to place mosaics? Why do you think they put them there?
    • What sort of information about Roman life can we tell from mosaics?
  • Hand out the lesson quiz to evaluate comprehension.

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