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Mosaic Masterpieces

Explore the ancient Greek art form of mosaics.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Mosaics date back 4000 years or more, when the Greeks pushed terracotta cones into a background for decoration. In the 4th century BC, the Greeks were using precise geometric patterns and detailed scenes of people, animals, or the sea. Ask small groups of students to locate Greece on a world map. Invite them to find out about the people and art of ancient Greece and today. Provide classroom text and electronic resources for this research activity.
    2. When research is complete, provide the opportunity for groups to present their learning to classmates. Allow students to determine the mode of presentations.
    3. Today, mosaics are made by grouping small pieces of clay, tile, pebbles, or other materials together to form a pattern or design, very much like those of the ancient Greeks! Inform students that they will make a colorful paper mosaic in this same tradition to decorate a handy pencil cup or vase.
    4. Ask students to cover their work area with recycled newspaper. Color an entire sheet of paper using Crayola® Washable Markers. Be creative, making designs, stripes, or blocks of color. Tear decorated paper into different shapes and sizes.
    5. Trim construction paper with Crayola Scissors to fit around a juice can or similar clean, safe recycled container. This will become the mosaic background so children to select a favorite color. If a specific scene or picture is desired, students can sketch it with a Crayola Erasable Colored Pencil.
    6. Glue the paper pieces on the background with a Crayola Glue Stick. Leave a little space between them so the background shows. Add ribbon on the top for a festive look.
    7. Display student mosaics in a prominent place in the classroom. Allow time in the school day for students to observe classmates' work and discuss how their learning influenced finished artwork.
  • Standards

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

    LA: With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.

    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.

    MATH: Draw points, lines, line segments, rays, angles (right, acute, obtuse), and perpendicular and parallel lines. Identify these in two-dimensional figures.

    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.

  • Adaptations

    Encourage students to research other ancient cultures that created mosaics. How are these mosaics similar to the Greek work? How are they different. Share research with classmates in small group discussions.

    Students expand their research of ancient Greek cultures by expanding their investigations to aspects such as architecture, government, Greek history, etc. Organize research into an essay format for sharing with classmates.


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