Roman Life

Make a Roman Atrium

Fine Art

Paint a Fresco

Roman Leadership

The Emperor's New Clothes

Roman Architecture

Aqueduct Crayon Relief

Try an Atrium


Roman houses were four sided, rectangular in shape and had no cellar underneath. Only the rich, called the Patricians, could afford to live in houses in the city. The Roman Atrium was like a living room and entry hall  today. It was a place where Roman's entertained their guests. The Atrium had a hole in the middle of it's roof to let light in and where rain poured in . They collected the water in a pool like basin called the impluvium. They used this water for drinking and washing. The Romans spent more time outside their homes in Atriums and gardens compared to us who spend more time inside our homes. Most of the roman homes were constructed of brick and mortar. Many were decorated with brightly painted walls and mosaic floors.

Objective: Students will design an atrium

Vocabulary: Patrician, atrium, impluvium, 


  • white paper 8 1/2" x 11" 

  • colored paper 12"x18"

  • triangular roof shape  paper with the base 8 1/2"

  • corrugated cardboard 


  1. Discuss how Roman homes.

  2. In the center of the white paper, have students draw a small impluvium (pool).

  3. Have students draw what might be inside a Atrium. Remind students that all of the items would be subject to the weather including rain.  Objects might include, a fountain, arched doorways to other rooms, pots, plants, statues, bench, wall and floor mosaics and of course people. Use which ever medium you wish to color.

  4. Once their drawing is done, have the students cut out 2 long rectangle for columns They should cut these out following the ridges of the corrugated cardboard. Cut 2 small bases for the columns out of the cardboard. These should go against the ridges of the cardboard.

  5. Glue the drawing in the center of the larger colored paper.

  6. Glue one base and column on each side of the drawing where the white paper ends.

  7. Students can now cut their roof shapes in half and glue them on top of the white paper to show the hole in the roof. It should be somewhat centered over the impluvium. They can even add rain!


  • participates in class discussion using appropriate vocabulary

  • identifies how the Ancient Romans used their Atriums

  • good craftsmanship

  • uses materials in an appropriate manner


  Fresh Fresco

Many Roman homes were elaborately decorated with all sorts of artwork. Walls depicted mythological scenes, hunting scenes, still life, and many other things. These wall paintings were called frescos, meaning "fresh." They were painted while the plaster on the wall was still wet. The ceilings were often painted too, sometimes even with reliefs.

Objective: Students will create a Roman Fresco.

Vocabulary: Ancient Rome, Fresco, symbol, 


  • Show slides or pictures of Roman Frescos and discuss the procedure used to make the. (The authentic procedure called for lime and sand)

  • Mix the plaster in a container that can be thrown in the trash later, like a milk carton. Do not rinse any plaster down the drain. All plaster residue must go in the trash.

  • Pour plaster into a mold, such as a cardboard box, a pie tin, or a heavy paper plate. 

  • Smooth the plaster with a stick. 

  • Insert a hanging device like a paper clip at this time.

  • Let the plaster set up briefly so that it is damp but not wet. 

  • Gently remove the mold from around the plaster. 

  • Paint with watercolor paints or thinned tempera paints on the wet plaster. You can let the children paint whatever they like or instruct them to paint something that they remember about Ancient Rome. 

  • Let the plaster dry overnight.


  • participates in class discussion

  • uses materials properly

  • good craftsmanship

  • depicts a favorite Ancient Roman symbol



The Emperors New Clothes

The toga was the formal garment of ancient Romans and a symbol of citizenship. The right to wear one was often treasured, especially by freedmen who had made their way from slaves to citizens. 




  • Thin Card for figure

  • white tissue

  • red or blue tissue

  • yellow or black tissue scraps for hair

  • felt tip pens

  • pencils

  • scissors and glue


  • Draw a full length figure of an emperor in pencil.

  • Spread glue over the middle section of the the body.

  • Press loosely crumpled large pieces of white tissue into the glued area.

  • Gather with string or yarn around the waist.

  • Cut red or blue tissue to make the toga.

  • Decorate the top layer with red yellow and black felt tip pens for jewels and patterns.

  • Glue the gathered layers together

  • Decorate the head using crumpled tissue paper for hair and felt tip pens for face. Add jewels sequins and other trimmings.

Evaluation: draws a human figure, uses materials  properly, uses folds and gathers on tissue to create a toga, good craftsmanship and participates in class discussion.


Aquatic Aqueduct

bridge.jpg (44502 bytes)

click for larger picture

Objective: The student will look at various types of Roman Architecture.

The student will compare and contrast various forms of architecture.

The student will identify pattern and repetition in Roman Architecture.

Materials: white paper for background, blue and green thin paint washes, wax crayons, 4" manilla paper the same width as the white paper or the aqueducts.


  • Show pictures like the one above to discuss the architecture and purpose of the Roman Aqueducts.

  • Have children draw an underwater scene, pressing heavily with the crayons. Some ideas for objects to add to their drawing are statues, amphorae ( roman pottery), roman coins etc.

  • Use wavy lines of green and blue thin paint to wash over the picture. Cover entire picture and let dry.

  • Draw 3 or more arches at the bottom of the manilla paper and cut the arches out. 

  • Glue the Aqueduct at the top of the painting.


  • Use of vocabulary

  • repetition  and pattern shown in art work

  • completely filled in with watercolor

  • good craftmanship




Ancient Rome Sites for Teachers and Parents: Some of these sites may also be suitable for children depending on their age.

  • Virtual Reconstruction Rome This is a really nice site. It gives the student's a chance to see what Rome really  looked like instead of just the ruins

  • The Roman Emperors   This site offers a simple and easy to read description of the Roman Emperors.

  • Pompeii The Architecture of Pompeii: Public sites

  • Roman Clothing with pictures and directions on how to wear a toga. Low information content but nice pictures.

Lesson Plans

Ancient Rome Sites for Kids