Mosaics are made of tiny colored pieces of stone, pottery, glass or other materials, arranged together and set in plaster or cement to make patterns and images. They can be used to decorate a floor, a wall or in some cases a ceiling.
Mosaics have a long history. They were created in Ancient times in Babylon, Egypt, Greece and Rome. When the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum (which were buried under lava when Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79) were rediscovered, many wonderful mosaics were found.
Ask your students to imagine, making a mosaic using over one million pieces of glass - all hand cut, and placed into wet plaster to create a large pattern for their entry hall! It is a project that would take months and in some cases even many years to complete.
For several centuries, interest in the making of mosaics declined. It wasn't until the 19th century, when architects started to look at old ideas for new inspirations, that the interest once again returned and mosaics began popping up in public buildings and private homes.
This Halloween, why not have your students try their hands at mosaic making, using something very plentiful this time of year ... pumpkin seeds.
- Pumpkin Seeds (clean)
- Tempera paint (dark colors)
- Paint brush
- Shallow container
- Thick paper (poster board)
- Wax paper or newspaper
- Have students choose a few paint colors. Put the seeds into a shallow dish, squirt some paint on the seeds and mix the paint around until all seeds are covered in paint. They should do this for as many colors as they need.
- Spread the seeds out on wax paper (or newspaper) and let dry.
- While they are waiting for the seeds to dry, students can draw a scary picture onto their poster paper. Some ideas include a jack 'o' lantern, masks, a black cat or just wild designs. Remind students to keep it simple, remember, they will be "coloring in" with seeds.
- When the seeds are dry, they can be arranged and glued onto the poster paper in the appropriate areas. If you are feeling really adventurous, try using plaster instead of glue to create the mosaics. Just remind students to work quickly as plaster has a very quick set time. Also, never pour plaster down the sink. Wait for it to dry and throw it in the garbage.