Mosaic of Life
  1. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.

The group creates mosaics to represent the diversity within their community.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session

The learner will:

  • create a paper mosaic.
  • compare a mosaic to a neighborhood.
  • describe a benefit of cooperation and being part of a diverse group.
  • one sheet of construction paper for each participant
  • centimeter squares of colored paper, cut from construction paper, wrapping paper, magazines, and/or wallpaper sample books (make sure there is a variety of colors and textures)
  • The handouts are for teacher background information.
  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Tell students that mosaics are like neighborhoods. While they are made up of lots of unique pieces, they come together as a beautiful whole.

  2. In advance, set out materials described above. Each child needs one full sheet of construction paper and access to glue and a bowl of colored paper squares.

  3. Tell students that they will be making mosaic pictures using these supplies. A mosaic is a picture made up of lots of tiny pieces. Some good examples of mosaics can be found at the following link: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/mosaicsartscraftsideaskids.html

  4. Point out the variety of colors available and their uniqueness. Mention that each piece is part of a bigger picture, but yet the little pieces still have their own colors and designs. Tell the students that they are going to sketch a picture of their neighborhood, and this will include many different colors. Let students explore and match tones. There will be many shades for skin, hair and eye color. There should also be different colors for grass, buildings, etc.

  5. Demonstrate the process of making a mosaic. Tell the students to sketch a picture of their neighborhood with pencil on a sheet of construction paper. Tell them not to put in small details; the best image is a large one with big sections to fill in with color. Show them how to put glue from a glue stick on one section at a time, then place the colored pieces inside the sketch. Give students time to create their mosaics (may take two sessions). Allow the mosaics to dry overnight.

  6. Bring it all together: Have students walk around and view the other mosaics. Meet as a whole group and talk about the art. Ask:

    • What interesting pictures did we make?
    • What do you notice about the mosaics when you stand close and look at them versus when you are looking at them from far away?
    • Are the different pieces of the mosaic important to the whole picture, or just on their own? Why or why not?
    • A mosaic is a large picture made up of lots of little pieces that blend and work well together.
    • How is your neighborhood like a mosaic?
    • What are some of the benefits of cooperation and being part of a diverse group?

The reflection questions at the end of the activity help students reflect on the comparison between a mosaic and a diverse neighborhood. The U.S. is sometimes referred to as a mosaic. As people move here from other countries, they maintain their culture and identity, which makes the new community richer.