Images of different mosaics, from fine art to child's paper project

I figured that I’d start with a mosaic lesson idea to kick off Homeschool Mosaic! I’ve always loved this style of art and really appreciate how small bits of things can be put together to create something new. I think as homeschoolers, that’s kind of how we are. Every family is a bit different, but we fit together in really beautiful (and sometimes unexpected!) ways.

This is an interdisciplinary lesson idea. That means we will pull together multiple subjects to give students a broad understanding of a given theme. These aren’t step-by-step lesson plans, but a list of options and resources.

Objective: Students will learn about  mosaic art in context of history and aesthetics.

Pinterest Resource Board

Vocab

If your child is unfamiliar with mosaic art, take a look through YouTube or how-to craft books to see some examples. When introducing something like this, I like to give examples and then ask the children to give me a definition. Ask them to tell you what is a mosaic and what’s not a mosaic. By finding examples and non-examples, they can better understand the subject.

There are many styles of mosaic so another conversation would be to talk about the differences among the abstract, geometric, and full image types. Younger children can practice color words or talk about the images made by mosaics.

Art

Of course we’re gonna try to make our own mosaic. You could keep things simple for smaller children and use paper or even pattern tiles. Pinterest has about a thousand ideas that are appropriate for a full range of ages.

Creating a mosaic is a good opportunity to experiment with creating movement, playing with color, and creating form. There are comparisons that can be made to pointillism, modern, abstract, and pixel art.

Math

Geometry is the obvious tie-in with math and there’s so much you can do with the littlest kids just learning their shapes to more advanced kids.

Practicing identifying and naming shapes is an easy way to start. You could simply look at examples and point them out or you can practice with a coloring sheet or paper cutouts.

Older kids can measure angles and find adjacent angles. Area and perimeter are also great to practice in context of a hands-on project.

History

Mosaics are one of the most ancient art forms. They’ve been around since before the Greeks and Romans and continue to be popular today. Children can learn about how and why people used mosaic decoration throughout history and the various styles they used. It’s a great place to bring in Islamic art and architecture that was spread throughout the Moorish Empire in Northern Africa and Spain.

Science

People use a variety of materials like ceramic, tile, glass, cement, pebbles, mirror, porcelain, and more to create mosaics. Learning about these materials and their properties would be an interesting way to bring in some science. (My kids are always curious about how things like glass are made!)

Nontraditional materials used in mosaics open up a great way to talk about recycling and conservation. Talk about what kinds of things are more difficult to recycle and brainstorm ways to reuse those materials instead. The Art Car Museum might give you some inspiration!