The Greeks created mosaic pictures to decorate their floors and walls in market places, bath houses, hotels and many other places throughout their structures. Romans used mosaics as well. Since we have seen so many different mosaics in our travels, the kids had a good understanding of what they were trying to replicate.
Ostia Antica, Italy
Terraced Housing Mosiac Floor work - Ephesus, Turkey
Bath house remains with mosaic floor tiles - Olympia, Greece
Christian Wall Mosaic inside the Hagia Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
But before we started the project we took some time to talk about Alexander the Great. The book Alexander the Great by Demi was perfect for the older two kids. It highlighted many events from his life such as the taming of his horse Bucephalus, his visits to the Oracle and his untying of the Gordian Knot. Alexander was a conqueror so the book does contain war scenes and information about the assassination of Alexander's father. For this reason I wouldn't read it with very young children. What I liked most about this book were the shiny gold highlights in the illustrations on every page.
After learning about Alexander's conquests we began the project.
While they were working they discussed how long they thought it would take to create a mosaic design for the floor of a bath house. By completing this activity they began to understand that it would be a lot of work.
Even the activity took much longer than I anticipated. The kids worked away for two and a half hours to complete their mosaics. How long do you think it would have taken to create a floor like the one at Ephesus, Turkey?