Art is not just a fun activity to incorporate into a child's day in order to break up the monotony. Art is a substantial part of learning, and when the principals of fine motor skills, planning ahead, geometry, patterns, flip, slide, and reflection and symmetry are applied, the learning environment catches on fire! In "Pathways to School Improvement,", it is written that, "Mathematics should include experiences that help students to shift their thinking about mathematics and define mathematics as a study of patterns and relationships. This is a great time to help kids do just that--shift their thinking about mathematics and discover patterns and relationships! I also will argue that art helps kids relax and settle into learning. Put art in the classroom and you will have some happy students who are ready to learn.
This mosaic activity is a great one to complete in October and November because of the beautiful harvest colors found in the bean and pasta section! Find a grocery store with bulk bins, and you will find a treasure trove of awesome collage/mosaic materials! The pasta selection alone was enough to induce excitement for my kids as they chose the shapes and colors they wanted to use for this project. Greens, yellows, oranges, browns, blacks, and even reds, the assortment was outstanding. The bean selection had just as much variety!
For this project, you will need your pasta and bean assortment, heavy cardboard pieces or foam board to glue mosaic pieces to, Elmer's glue poured onto paper plates, and toothpicks to apply the glue.
For a younger student, hand draw a simple shape for them to use as a template. My Kindergartner wanted a flower. I drew a simple flower and she organized her pieces before gluing each piece on with a toothpick. You may also print out one of these free PDF templates: An apple template, a pumpkin template, or a sunflower template.
My 4th grader drew a pumpkin shape and arranged her mosaic within the shape.
My 6th grader wanted to try her hand at drawing a tractor and creating a tractor mosaic. She found a great tutorial on YouTube and went to work! I think it turned out great!
As you can see, students may choose to fill up their entire shape with pasta and beans, or they can leave some blank space. If you'd like to color the pasta (red and green for a December craft, maybe?) you can place in a baggie with a drop or two of watercolor paint and then spread on a paper towel to dry. Check out the beautiful mosaics Craftwack.com created with colored pasta!