Digital cameras store a picture as lots of little squares called pixels, each a different colour. The Romans invented the idea behind pixels, thousands of years before computers existed. They used the idea in mosaics to decorate their floors.
They realised they could make a picture from lots of coloured squares. They called the little squares of coloured glass or stone they used ‘tesserae’ rather than pixels. This made it easy for them to send mosaic kits across the empire. Anyone could have the floor pattern they wanted. They didn’t hit on the idea of sending the patterns as numbers though!
Fun to do: Pixel Puzzle
Colour in the squares below using the colours from the key to build this common Roman mosaic pattern.
Can you make your own mosaic design? What materials could you use as ‘tesserae’?
CS powers: representing images!