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Lab School Mosaic
Built and designed by kindergarten students as part of an in-depth study of mosaics.
About this creation
The year the 2011-2012 kindergarteners in my class engaged in a long term study of mosaics. The impetus of the project began with the students experimenting with reusable material to create assemblage. The next step involved practicing with construction paper square mosaics with their fifth grade partners. As part of my continued professional development, I traveled to London over Winter Break to view the exhibit The Power of Making at the Victoria & Albert Museum with included one of my works (read more about it here ).

When I spoke to one of the exhibit designers, she told me that the curator, Daniel Charney, had been frustrated with so many designers who just want to come in and design right away without learning the skills that can take years to develop that go into real design work. Another part of my time in London was spent in Leytonstone, birthplace of Alfred Hitchcock. At the Leytonstone tube station there are over twenty mosaics highlighting his career.

When I came back to school in January, I knew that I wanted to try to expand our study of mosaics by attempting to create one with the kindergarteners. I successfully applied for a grant to fund the purchase of Lego elements and started to formulate a plan. This project is the culmination of our mosaic study, but we also made beautiful torn-paper self-portrait mosaics and even saw a museum exhibit of the ancient Lot mosaic.



This is the original photograph I took of our school. The building is over 100 years old and was John Dewey first Laboratory School. You can see how the photograph was broken down into 24 sections for each member of the class. They each chose their own section based on a first come, first serve basis; but each part is equally important to the whole.



Each student was then given a 5"x5" picture of their section with a grid superimposed upon in.



Using a blank grid that was also 5"x5", each student used colored pencils that corresponded to the Lego palate to carefully identify what the major color was in each square. This was their plan which they would follow to make their section. These three boys are all working to create their plans.



This is what all 24 plans looked like together.



Let's look at this section as an example of the next step.



This is the finished plan that matches the above section.



We ordered 24 clear 16x16 baseplates to work with.



The baseplates were placed directly atop the plan so the students could easily match the elements to their plan.


The next step involved me carefully calculating what elements we needed to order from bricklink. We tried to stick with 1x1s and 1x2, the only exception was dark brown, which doesn't come in those sizes. We had a lot of fun learning about how bricklink worked and opening the packages from all over the world as they arrived in the mail.



The elements were sorted by color and the students set to work.



Sometimes it would take several days to finish a section.



Other times a student would work all morning to finish.



The students worked together when they had difficulty.



As the sections neared completion, some areas needed tweaking, and we went back in to work on details.



Each student work incredibly hard to complete their section and were very proud of the work they had done.



This project taught a great deal about counting, correspondence and how math can have real world applications.



The mosaic was framed by the parents of the class. It has been donated to the school and will hang in this building until the new early childhood campus is completed next year.



I should mention that not only am I a teacher at the school, but I attended the school for 12 years and am very proud to have help this class create such a beautiful piece of artwork.



The class knew that I had displayed my Lego dissected frog in London and were very excited when I told them that I was taking their work to Brickworld 2012 to share it with other Lego builders AND that they were all invited to come see it; they responded, "We're going to be famous". I hope many of you will be able to see this in person at Brickworld, and maybe even meet some of the young artists. For those who can't come, I hope you appreciate that Lego is an art form that takes years to master, but with study, can be learned.



Comments

Dave Kaleta
 I like it 
White Knight
  July 1, 2012
Absolutely Fabulous work !>.....well done
 I like it 
  July 1, 2012
That is the coolest. What a great project! The class must be very proud of thier work. :)
  June 29, 2012
Quoting Dave Kaleta Wow, I'd love to see some reference to understand how large the ceramic masks actually are! Nice work. ~Dave
Here you go, Dave! I hope this helps. http://www.mocpages.com/image_zoom.php?mocid=330069&id=/user_images/28456/1340979688m
 I like it 
  June 25, 2012
You must be so proud of 6 year olds to do such a work! Great work!
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  June 25, 2012
Wow! thats cool. Can you look at this? http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/329692
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  June 25, 2012
Wow! thats cool. Can you look at this? http://www.mocpages.com/moc.php/329692
 I like it 
  June 23, 2012
Those kids are awesome and so lucky to have a teacher like you! ~ Chris.
 I like it 
  June 23, 2012
Awesome project! Looks so cool! I wish we did this is school...
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  June 21, 2012
What a great project! And especially impressive for such young students, amazing!
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  June 20, 2012
Seems like an excellent project. Where were you when I was in school?
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  June 19, 2012
These kids are talented!
 I like it 
  June 19, 2012
You are an amazing teacher! (Don't you wish we received as much praise for our teaching skills as we do for our Lego building!?!) Great seeing you at BW12
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  June 18, 2012
Why did I never had a teacher that cool? --- Hey kids, great work. The mosaic looks like it has been created by just one person. That shows how good each one of you worked on this and how good you all worked together as one group.
 I like it 
  June 13, 2012
Amazing work your kids did. I wish my son had a teacher like you. Great work my friend.
 I like it 
  June 13, 2012
This is great! These kids are amazing! That is nice how they colored the squares and went and did it in real Lego!
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  June 13, 2012
It's incredible how such young children can build this. You have done a great work. I mean you let the children build something, the most of us couldn't.
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  June 13, 2012
The mosaic itself is incredible, but I think that the most amazing aspect of this project is that it was designed and built by such young kids! You must be a fantastic teacher.
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  June 13, 2012
That looks great! I like how you divided it into segments, and each kid got to build an equal part.
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  June 13, 2012
Looks so real! -LB Jr.
 I like it 
  June 13, 2012
excellent work from all involved, a great great way to learn, well done.
 I like it 
  June 13, 2012
Well done!
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  June 13, 2012
So you're not just teaching in a school, you're STILL in school! Like Timmy Turner!
 I like it 
  June 13, 2012
Incredible mosaic, and to think that it was built by kindergarteners! It makes me feel like I really need to get my game on, haha ;) Its really inspiring how you are teaching kids with LEGO, I bet they'll all be geniuses when they grow up ;)
 I like it 
  June 13, 2012
An excellent and noteworthy project! Congrats to you and your class!
 I like it 
  June 13, 2012
Congrats to you all, kids!! You've done an outstanding work with a beautiful result! That was a really nice project. And it's mostly appreciated from my country: France.
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  June 13, 2012
Impressive work, both teacher and students!
 I like it 
  June 13, 2012
such an awesome idea! good on you!
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  June 13, 2012
Great piece of art Dave + kiddies! I wish I could have used LEGO in infant school, that's why I've started using it all the time in Secondary school! I've used bricks to do multiple homework tasks. I even found out that my Art teacher is Minifigure collector, and we've done some trading :) Great work again mate!
 I like it 
  June 13, 2012
Excelletn project, and presentation. Congratz on the achievement of having so many kids work together. I can hardly get my own two to walk in the same direction at the same time... ;-)
Dave Kaleta
 I like it 
The Texan Bionicle Builder
  June 12, 2012
Very nice! Was made by kids? Would never believe it, wish you were my teacher...:D
Dave Kaleta
 I like it 
The Texan Bionicle Builder
  June 12, 2012
Very nice! Was made by kids? Would never believe it, wish you were my teacher...:D
Dave Kaleta
 I like it 
Chris Melby
  June 12, 2012
I think the way you put this together as a project rather than the typical "Master Builder" Narcissist , look what I did, shows great respect to not only the hobby, but to you as a teacher. "Tipping hat" well done dude!
 I like it 
  June 12, 2012
Wow, you're an awesome teacher! I wish my mum would let me play with lego for schoolwork :) That's really cool that you and your bunch of students could all work together to build that, it looks as though it was built by just one person. Well done!
 I like it 
  June 12, 2012
Great art project! I could see a little math lesson with this all too... LEGOS being your math manipulatives! :)
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  June 12, 2012
Coolest. Teacher. EVER.
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  June 12, 2012
Very nice!
 I like it 
  June 12, 2012
Very impressive!
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  June 12, 2012
Haha, you must be a popular teacher! That's very clever!
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  June 12, 2012
Great stuff Dave, I love the work that you do with your class.
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  June 12, 2012
They're famous all right! Each kid deserves a pat on the back for this, it's amazing!
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  June 12, 2012
Dang, none of my teachers are THIS awesome!
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  June 12, 2012
I wish you were my kindergarten teacher. I am quite jealous of those students.
 I like it 
  June 12, 2012
A very inspirational and education project you have put together for the kids! They are quite the Junior Master Model Builders :)
 I like it 
  June 12, 2012
Very nice! Looks fantastic!
 
By Dave Kaleta
Add to my favorite builders

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Added June 12, 2012
 


LEGO models my own creation MOCpages toys shop Lab School MosaicMosaics


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