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Magnificent Mosaic

Discover the ancient art form of mosaics—with a contemporary twist! Layer and mix Crayola® Model Magic to create unique, detailed sculptures.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. A mosaic is an art form made with small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. Individual pieces are called tesserae. They fit together to form a design, which is set in mortar. Mosaics can decorate ceilings, floors, walls, sidewalks, and furniture. People of many cultures have used mosaic art. Mosaics appeared as early as 3000 BCE and became widespread during 300 BCE in cities ruled by Greece. In the 6th century, mosaics were a popular art form in the Byzantine Empire. Islamic people of India and Persia, the Aztec and Mayan Indians, and Mexicans in modern times have all created mosaic art.
    2. Organize students into small groups. Challenge groups to research the history of mosaic art and find examples of each of the types of mosaics, ancient and modern. Students organize their research into presentations for classmates. All students should be prepared to discuss photographs of mosaics, ancient and modern, as well as how mosaic art has changed over time.
    3. Once presentations are complete, students prepare to create tesserae for their own mosaics. Begin by pressing thin layers of different colors of Model Magic together into strips. Blend primary colors, or add white, to make new hues. For a marbled effect, slightly twist and knead colored layers together. Solid-color tesseraes can also be created. Encourage students to use their imaginations to try different techniques to mix, layer, and imprint the modeling material. Cut strips into tiny pieces with Crayola Scissors. Air-dry tesseraes overnight.
    4. Students place tesserae in a design on foam board. Try laying some flat. Turn others on their sides or stand them up to add height. Exchange tesserae with classmates for more variety. Experiment with designs to find one that are aesthetically pleasing.
    5. Students attach mosaic pieces with Crayola School Glue. Air-dry design before displaying them.
  • Standards

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

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

    LA: Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

    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: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    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.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resource includes: Saint Valentine by Robert Sabuda

    Students work in small groups to research ancient cultures that created mosaics as representations of their people. Compare and contrast the various mosaics. What do they tell you about each of the cultures?

    As a small groups, create a mosaic using Crayola Model Magic. Investigate re-creating the mosaic outdoors using recycled materials and Crayola paint products. Take digital photographs to upload to a classroom computer. Attach an audio file description of how you created the outdoor mosaic.

    Working in teams of two, students create a portrait mosaic of your team member. What colors will you use? How do these colors represent your teammate? Be prepared to explain your choices.


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