## Thursday, June 14, 2012

### Roman Mosaics

The Ancient Romans loved to spend time at the baths. Bath houses were a bit similar to modern day swimming pool complexes.
This one in Trier, Germany contained several heated swimming pools, locker rooms and an eating area.

The floors of the baths usually were decorated with mosaic tiles as seen in this bath house in Ephesus, Turkey.

The designs were often complex and very intricate. Mosaics were not only found in bath houses, but in other public buildings and residences of the wealthy as well. These were from Ostica Antica, Italy.

Mosaics are a fun and easy project to do with kids. We used small movable tiles, but small pieces of paper could also be used. In addition, the paper can be glued in place for a more permanent design.

Mosaics build math skills. You can see the symmetry in my son's design. This activity reinforces skills like counting, addition and multiplication. For example, how many yellow tiles were required for the center? 16 - this could be solved in several ways;
1. counting 16 individual tiles
3. multiplying 4x4=16

How many green tiles were used in the top portion of the design? Here are some ways to solve this problem;
1. counting 22 individual tiles
2. adding 4+4+3 = 11, 4+4+3=11 and then 11+11=22
3. multiplying 3x3=9, then 9x2=18, then adding 4 more left over = 22

Simple questions like these can get children to think in complex mathmatical ways.

Teach Beside Me