Every civilization had its own art forms and for the Romans it was mosaics. They used stones, pottery and glass to make beautiful designs like this one of the Plato academy:
Or this one, a purely geometric design, also known as a tessellation. Mathematically inclined kids will love tessellations.
You can look up many more beautiful images of Roman mosaics online.
Roman Mosaics For Kids
After introducing my kids to Roman mosaics we made our own out of construction paper. I had them draw a simple design on one sheet, then glue squares of paper in other colors to fill in the design. Here are the results.
My kids are into rockets right now so we got a lot of that. I hope you recognized the Enterprise, on black paper.
Start with cutting out lots of little squares of paper in many different colors, keeping the colors separated into piles.
Then choose a paper for the background. Have the kids draw their design (remind them to keep it simple) onto the paper lightly with pencil.
Finally paste the little squares onto the design to make a picture.
- Besides mosaics, the Romans were known for their architecture. Check out David Macaulay’s, City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction. The drawings are amazing and the text is detailed enough to be interesting but avoids crossing over into boring.
- There are elements of Roman culture with us still today. Much of our language is based on Latin, the traditional treatment of women, segregating them into the private sphere of the home, comes from Roman culture, and much of our architecture copies Roman forms (the Romans in turn copied the Greeks). As you learn more about the Romans see if you can spot some more ways our culture has hung onto the old Roman ways.
- Geometric patterns and order were important to the Romans. Why do you think geometric patterns, proportion and spacing are more beautiful to the eye than haphazard design? As you go around your town look for examples of well proportioned design and poor design, notice the details of both. Why does one look beautiful while the other is ugly?
- This post is in Unit 1-18 of the Layers of Learning Curriculum.