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
2. adding 4+4+4+4=16
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 mathematical ways.


  1. We have tried to go here twice but we always arrive on a Monday and it is closed:(. There are lots of Roman baths in England the best is in the city of Bath:)

  2. I love how you tied mosaics to both history and math. Great project! Thanks for linking up to Summer Learning and Fun linky!

  3. What a wonderful lesson! I love the real-life application of math! I'm going to feature this on my PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page--thanks for sharing it at Teach Me Tuesday!!

  4. Love this! What a great activity to enforce this time period of history. It's also neat because it cane be used with any age child. A little one could just put squares wherever, while an older child to make quite a beautiful piece! Thank you for linking this up to Trivium Tuesdays! I hope you can link up with us again this week!

  5. Beautiful pictures!! Old ruins like that just fire up the imagination, don't they?


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