Sadly, we are not going to finish Ancient Rome before our school year is over, so we will just postpone our Ancient Rome studies until we return back to school right after July 4th.
Instead of just not doing history the last 2 weeks of school, I decided for us to go ahead and start Ancient Rome because 1) it’s fascinating to study! and 2) that will put us less behind when we start our new school year in July.
Do I really believe we are “behind”? Well, not really. It’s only the Type A in me that’s bummed we didn’t finish the whole Year 1 of TOG this school year.
I have really neglected the hands-on learning part of history this semester. I haven’t been nearly as diligent about scheduling those hands-on activities, so they just haven’t happened.
I learned long ago that if I don’t schedule something, it is not going to happen!
Being more intentional with hands-on activities in our next school year is a priority for me!
Because it felt like ages since we worked on a fun activity, my kiddos were overjoyed today when they realized we were making mosiacs like the Ancient Romans!
How to Create a Mosaic
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Our Tapestry of Grace curriculum referred us to Spend the Day in Ancient Rome by Linda Honan for directions in creating our mosaic masterpieces.
After learning the words ‘tesserae’ and ‘mosaic’, we looked at several examples in various Ancient Rome books. What beautiful floors and wall hangings the Ancient Romans enjoyed!
For this activity, we used the following items:
→ Deep colored cardstock – (I linked to the pack I purchased – great quality)
→ A variety of dried beans – we used navy beans, lentils, and black eyed peas
→ Plastic plates, Q-tips
We started by drawing a large circle on each page. Since our compass was MIA, we used a protractor to draw 2 semi-circles.
We then each used a ruler to draw lines on our papers, creating various angles and shapes.
Next, we spent some individual time brainstorming the patterns and colors of our beans and what we wished our final design to be like.
Then we got busy gluing on our beans!
To make the gluing on of beans easier, I put an ample amount of school glue on a paper plate and we “brushed” the glue on with a Q-Tip.
It worked well to brush glue on a section of the paper, and then add the beans in small sections. Too much glue = wrinkly, wet card stock.
We were so thrilled with our results!
Topics we talked about as we created our mosiacs
Creating a mosaic can definitely be a great rainy day art project – because it is an incredibly rainy day here in North Carolina today!
But the homeschool mama in me wanted this project to be more than just a time-filler, so here are a few ways that mosaics encourage lots of learning.
♥ Because we were creating angles and shapes on our card stock, we had a great discussion about geometry and the tools we use to measure angles. We talked about accuracy – how the tools must be accurate in order for us to use them and get precise results. Also, I reviewed various shapes with my 5 year old.
♥ Since we are just starting our study of Ancient Rome, we read quite a bit of our history reading together before starting our project. This week, we’re just getting a feel for the culture and day-to-day life of the Ancient Romans, so their art work fits right into that learning.
♥ Tesserae – this was a new word for all of us, including me! Tesserae are the small cubed tiles that make up a mosaic, which are often made of stone. Ancient Roman floors were often covered with hundreds of these small tesserae, which I can imagine was a beautiful sight! Since tesserae are usually made of stones, we learned that they are earthy, natural colors: green, white, tan, brown, gray. So it made sense for us to use dried beans, since they have earthy colors.
♥ Planning – Several months ago, we visited our local Art Museum and learned that artists usually plan their projects and creations. While it’s true that some artists just sit and create without a lot of forethought, many artists ponder their projects before ever starting. Mosaics are a project that needs a bit of planning – where the colors of beans should go, how many sections to create with the ruler, if every inch of the paper should be covered, etc.
As a group, we discussed our project plans and why we chose the patterns we did. I love to hear my children’s brainstorms and ideas!
What art projects are you working on this week with your kiddos?