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Glass Mosaics Lesson Plan

Author: Donna Pence

Year: 2015

Artform: Visual Art

Subjects: Math

Grade: 6th and 8th

Duration: Three 45 minute sessions

Overview: Mosaics are an art form in which murals are made using tiny tiles or pieces of paper cut in geometric shapes to create a picture. Mosaics are Persian in origin and are seen today all over the world. It is an ADDITIVE MEDIUM - one piece follows another - and has been used at least since the fourth millennium BC to decorate and express the needs and feelings of people, both publicly and domestically.

Standards and Objectives

VA:CR2.1.6 A:
Demonstrate openness in trying new ideas, materials, methods, and approaches in making works of art and design.

VA:RE.7.1.6 A:
Identify and interpret works of art or design that reveal how people live around the world and what they value.

Analyze how art reflects changing times, traditions, resources, and cultural uses.
Solve real life mathematical problems involving angle measurement, area, surface area, and volume.
  • Students will pre-plan/ design the creation of a mosaic using temporary materials.
  • Students will be use new materials to create an historic art form
  • Students will be able to discuss the changing context of an art form
  • Students will be able to interpret how ancient civilizations lived based on an art form.



Start with a discussion about “What Is A Mosaic?”

View relevant slides from Mosaics and Math power point.


  • How to use wheeled glass nippers video
  • Use a document camera if possible to show the pieces are laid with a grout line between.
  • Show variations of how you can design with positive and negative space.
  • Show that you want to leave at least 1/4” grout line at the edges of your project.


  • Day One: Create a paper mosaic pattern as a guide for the glass mosaic from the frame dimensions of the mirror.
  • Days Two & Three: Cut glass and lay out on pattern, cover with clear contact paper.
  • Day Four: butter the frame with Senergy or other latex stucco product and center the taped mosaic over mirror, embed the glass. Wait one day or over a week to remove the tape. Senergy will remain wet so long as it is covered with contact paper, so care is needed in removing contact so pieces remain embedded.


View other students mosaics and discuss successes. What did not work well for you, what would you do differently? Why do you think that mosaics was a popular art form?

Social Studies: Islamic use of Mosaic Art

According to the Muslim faith, representational art that depicts the human form is disrespectful to God, as he created humanity in his image, and depictions of that image are sacrilegious. This gave birth to one of the oldest artistic traditions in the world -- the practice of mosaic art where pictures are geometric and abstract, rather than representational.
Print these out on a form so that as the students finish they can write about these reflection questions.

  • “Now that you have made a mosaic, imagine what it might have been like to use traditional tools and materials to create the mosaics of the past?”
  • “What do modern mosaics tell us about how time, traditions, and materials have changed what is possible for today’s artists?”
Some glass should be purchased in precut squares for students who do not have the strength to use the nippers.

For students who would like to take the project further, introduce them to the glass cutter and show them how to cut shapes.

LD students could work from a kit that has a precut project.
  • mosaic
  • tessarae
  • Hardie
  • vitreous glass
  • mastic
  • grout
  • grout line
  • gradation
  • Senergy
  • nippers
  • additive medium
  • subtractive medium
World History: Used as both a building material and design element in Persia, Greece, and Rome.

Contrast how the philosophy of Greek and Roman culture influences the subject matter of their mosaics.

Reference Muslim cultural preference for pattern over representational art.
Written reflection


  • Construction Paper Mosaic Template
  • 3/4” glass tiles in various colors
  • Older students can use precut 3/4” wide strips of glass and nip into squares)
  • White Senergy or Plaster
  • Wooden 2D form to receive tiles
  • Clear contact paper
  • Wheeled glass nippers
  • Safety glasses when nipping
  • Precut wooden form to receive mosaic design.( I have often used $2 IKEA 10” framed mirrors )