Themes: towns, mosaics and metal art. New option: A day just on Celtic art

Pick 2 out of 3 sessions to make a full day.


Main activities (follow links for full details):


1. Learn about Roman towns from photos, plus game

2. Make a Roman town from card


Roman Soldiers

1. Learn about Roman soldiers and their gear from pictures and replicas

2. Make Roman swords and helmets


Roman and Celtic Metal Art

1. Learn about Roman and Celtic metal art from photos and replicas

2. Make Roman and Celtic foil art or Celtic torcs (see options below)

Gold Roman coin which children can make a copy of in the metal art activity

Suitable for Year 4-6

The activities are challenging, but are suitable for most year 4s. However at least 2 extra adults will be needed to help - see below for more details.


To Book

Email Tony North: or tel: 0161 224 6445

Fee: £299 per class for a whole day  Max. 32 children.




Introduction to the Workshop


In the Romans in Britain workshop children are challenged to create artefacts using high quality materials and methods. They learn about the lives of the Romans and Celts through enjoyable and educational activities, and produce artwork you can proudly display.


Photos from workshops:

Metal Art 1     Metal Art 2     Town 

Follow-up Lesson Ideas

My Italy photos, 2013 - photos of Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ostia, and more

Background info on the artefacts

Teachers' comments: "thoroughly enjoyable with great outcomes" (click for more reviews)

Preparing for the Workshop

For sale at workshops:  Roman carvings (unpainted), £2 (see below).



Roman town children make in the workshop

Background: The Romans in Britain

In 55BC Julius Caesar led his troops across the English channel in a first attack on the Britons. Despite several victories he abandoned a full scale invasion. It was not until almost 100 years later, in AD43, that Roman legionaries under orders from Emperor Claudius returned. This time they stayed, for 400 years, conquering almost the whole island.


The Romans brought with them a wide variety of arts and crafts, which over time were adopted by the Celts. However, the influence was in both directions, for the Romans were open to new ideas and new styles, and a mingling of Roman and Celtic arts and culture occurred.

Roman rule had a profound impact on the lives of the Britons. The first true towns were built, on a pattern repeated throughout the Roman world, with well-constructed stone roads and walls, villas, temples, amphitheatres, shops, forums, and baths. The Celts had never experienced anything like it.


Coin of the Emperor Claudius, who ordered the invasion of Britain in AD43  

Lesson Plan: Towns

1. Roman Towns & game (30 mins)

Look at photos of real Roman buildings and discuss: houses, villas, shops, forum, theatre, amphitheatre, baths, temple, and city walls and gates.

Amphitheatre at Caerleon, S.Wales


Discuss what life might have been like for someone living in a Roman town. How similar would it be to life in a town today?

Game: look at photos of buildings from the Roman empire and guess what sort of building they are.

My Italy photos, 2013

Another 'name the building' game

Before break we will set out the materials for the town making.

2. Make a Roman Town (90+ mins)

click to see larger version


Children make a model of a Roman town, by cutting out card 'nets' and folding and sticking them together. Different groups of children make the sorts of buildings discussed earlier (except for baths which are very complicated shapes). Two town planners paint a street grid on a piece of hardboard (approx 60X90cm), and decide where each building will go, thinking about ideal locations.


The town is a large and complex activity and it is unlikely the class will finish it by lunchtime.They will continue to work on it in the afternoon after making their artefact (weapon/armour or mosaic).

Photos of the model town


Note regarding difficulty:

Please note that the town making requires complex skills such as cutting, folding and gluing accurately, as well as following written instructions. This means the workshop will be too hard for some year 4s. If you are in doubt, I recommend the mosaic and metal art option. For all options, we will need at least 2 extra adults in to help the children. If this is not possible we will make a reduced range of items for the town and metal art.

To help prepare children for the town making you can do two things:

1. Practice some of the art skills in advance, especially scoring with scissors and ruler, and making 3D shapes from nets.

2. On the day of the workshop, have as many adults as possible in the class to help (for both the morning and afternoon). You could invite parents in if TAs are in short supply. Please note that if fewer than 3 adults (in addition to myself) are present we will omit the more difficult buildings when making the town (the temple, theatre and amphitheatre). I can leave the resources for children to make these buildings another day if you wish.



Torc made at St. Richard's RC Primary, Manchester

Lesson Plan: Soldiers

1. Learn about Roman Soldiers (20-30 mins)

Roman legionary

We begin by learning about Roman soldiers and their gear through photos and my replicas. Children see my Roman sword (gladius) and sheath, spear (pilum), shield (scutum), helmet (galea), body armour (lorica segmentata), belt (cingulum) and dagger (pugio). I show them how these items would be used in combat, and we discuss the life of a Roman soldier. One child can then be selected to wear/hold all this gear - a great photo opportunity!



Roman gladius and sheath, seen in the workshop


Me with my lorica segmentata and shield


My helmet replica



2. Make Swords and Helmets (100 mins)

Next children make Roman swords or helmets. I have designed these as high quality arts and craft activities, and I provide most of the resources. Most children will make a sword; a few more talented children can make a helmet.

Children use silver and gold card, wooden handles, plastic balls, plasticine and paint to create realistic models, following my guidance and support.


The helmet made by some of the children


The sword most of the children will make



Lesson Plan: Roman and Celtic Metal Art

1. Look at Roman and Celtic Metal Art (30 mins)

Children see replicas of Roman and Celtic artefacts, and discuss what they are (function/use), who might have used them, what they are made of, and their artistic style (Roman art is realistic, Celtic art features curves, circles and less realistic representations of animals and people). I also show photos of real artefacts on the whiteboard.


Artefacts seen: Celtic torc, mirror, and shield, two Roman embossed silver plates (one is a copy of a plate from the Mildenhall treasure - see above, and the other is a copy of part of the Corbridge lanx showing goddesses), and real Roman coins. Children will also see my versions of the items they will make from foil. Click here to see these copies.

Art activity options

1. Foil Art: Each child makes two items of foil art - first a silver item and then a gold item. If you prefer, the items can be only Roman, only Celtic, or a mixture of both. This is the default option: that is, unless you specify you want to make torcs, we will make foil art.

3. Torcs: If your focus is on the Celts, you can have each child make their own torc (they make them in pairs, but each pair makes two torcs).

Celtic Day

If you want a day only on Celtic art, we can make a torc for each child in the morning and a Celtic foil item for each in the afternoon. As an introduction I will do a short lesson on the Celts and their art styles and show my Celtic artefact copies.

2. Make Embossed Metal Art (60 mins)


The children make beautiful items of metal art using gold and silver foil, specially designed for embossing.


Click here to see all the items as well as the originals on which they are based.

Copy of Celtic coin children will make


Using a pen, children trace over lines on a printed template onto the foil underneath. They then emboss the lines to make them stand out clearly, using a sharp pencil and a soft mat. Finally they cut out the foil and glue it to a card backing to protect it.




Copy of Roman coin which children will make



As the foil is very easy to damage, children with difficulties in tracing over lines will use gold and silver card instead of foil. The card is still very effective, and they can make several different items as it is easier, quicker, and less costly.

Look at metal art made by children in workshops


3. Make Torcs (45 mins)

The Great Torc from Snettisham


For the alternative activity, children work in pairs to make two Celtic torcs. This is a necklace made from twisted metal, often worn by elite Celtic warriors. The pairs hold a loop of garden wire with sticks and twist. They add plasticine for the ends, shape the wire into a circle, engrave the plasticine with a pencil and paint the torc gold or silver.


Torc made by Y4 children at St. Joseph's RC Primary




Game - can you tell if an artefact is Roman or Celtic?


Another 'Roman or Celtic?' game


Background info on Roman and Celtic art

Feedback from Teachers


Thank you for today. The children and I really enjoyed the whole day and it was a truly fantastic start to our Roman topic. The children have been inspired with some going home and drawing and creating their own model cities, Roman homes and mosaics.

Shelley Allen, Stockbridge Village Primary (February 2019)


Thank you for the workshops yesterday. The children thoroughly enjoyed them and I was very impressed by what they produced. I'm looking forward to displaying their work around school!

Lowri Harrison, Park Road Academy, Timperley (2018)


The children really enjoyed the workshops. One of them came to me and said "I've learnt so much about the Romans, it's been the best day ever!"

Claire Hunter, Alexandra Park Primary, Stockport (July 2017)


Hi Tony,

Good to meet you yesterday. Thank you for a great day. The children really enjoyed themselves despite the heat. And they produced some super artwork. We're very pleased. I've posted a few photos on our website. Scroll down the page at this link if you're interested:

Thanks again and all the best,

James Ross, St. Peter's C.E. Primary School, Ashton-under-Lyne (May 2017)


Just wanted to say thanks again for a wonderful workshop last week. The children have not stopped playing with their artwork. Me and Miss McDermott have nothing but positive comments. Your knowledge of the subject area is fantastic and I even found myself learning new things never mind the children.

The PowerPoints and images you provide are excellent and it really helps the children to visualize how things were in Ancient Rome. The town activity was wonderful and I really liked how you gathered the children to explain cutting, folding and gluing techniques. It really did improve their skills.

 I thought the two workshops Year 4 have experienced this year have been excellent. They have really enjoyed learning from your wonderful expertise. Your manner with the children is great and you made Ancient Rome/Ancient Greece come to life for the children.  

Robert Morley, Y4 teacher, Bleak Hill Primary, St Helens


The children worked well together in groups of four to produce some fantastic mosaics. Parents that were present on the day were impressed how the children got on with the task and were pleased that they got the opportunity to work with the fantastic materials that you provided. I have been contacted by parents and told to pass on their thanks for a fantastic day. We now have ten fantastic mosaics to display in the Junior School that will no doubt inspire more children. Your expert knowledge complemented your resources and inspired passion in the children. Many thanks for such an inspiring visit.

Daniel Mead, Y4 Teacher, QEGS

Tony is a great teacher, extremely passionate and knowledgeable about history. Your class will thoroughly enjoy the 'hands on' approach to learning that Tony provides. The sessions offer great value for money and can all be easily set up within the safety of your own classroom. The children wrote some lovely recounts from the Roman day and they were very complimentary of the amount of fun and learning they experienced.

Chloe Fraser, Tithe Barn Primary

The children absolutely loved the ' Roman Day'. All the children loved the practical activities. I was amazed at the shields and armour they had produced when I returned to class. They look fabulous, high quality, and make a real impact. One little boy (he was dressed up I think) actually said "It was the best day of my life"- and he sounded like he really meant it.

Andrea Cross, Lowton Junior School, nr. Warrington


From the first Roman workshop (just the artefacts lesson, a half day)

Dear Tony,

Thanks for the really enjoyable afternoon.
The children had a great time. The work they produced was of a very high standard which reflected the exceptionally well produced instructions. My class are notoriously poor at following instructions so this was a real plus for the outcome of the session.
It was really interesting that most of the children could differentiate between the styles of Roman and Celtic art - this was because of you highlighting it in the replicas and pictures.
The quantity and quality of prepared resources was excellent. All in all thoroughly enjoyable with great outcomes.
Thank you,


A belated thank you from all at Cookham Dean. Both staff and children alike thoroughly enjoyed the Roman workshop and parents/governors were amazed by the quality and variety of the artefacts that the children produced. It created a real buzz at the school and the children are very proud of their ability to distinguish between Roman and Celtic artefacts! I would thoroughly recommend the workshop for any school.

Cathy Stockdale, Y4 Teacher, Cookham Dean Primary School near Maidenhead


Comments from Y3/4 Teachers at Dean Oaks Primary School, Wilmslow

It was correctly aimed - right level for kids; they understood the content. Well linked to topics being currently taught.

Hands on activities were really well organised, good variety, good differentiation for ability groups.

Fantastic day, very creative and interesting for the children and adults. [I liked] making the artefacts with high quality resources. Good introduction to the topic.

The workshop was hugely enjoyable, for me and the support staff as well as for the children. The Roman town was excellent as the way it was planned allowed all the children to have a part of the full town and it was completed. The artefact activities were also excellent as the items came to life for the children.

The mosaic was my favourite and the children who completed it are over the moon with the result. 

Comments from children at Dean Oaks:

Interesting  -  Fun  -   I really liked it

It was very arty  -  Amazing  -  Enjoyable


Comments from a Y4 Teacher at Lower Kersal Primary School

They were really interested the whole day. Even the boys who often fidget when they sit on the carpet. They all thoroughly enjoyed it.


Comments from a Y4 Teacher at St. Joseph's Primary School, Sale

Hi Tony,

Thank you for visiting us - the children really enjoyed it and are thrilled with the artefacts we now have to keep in our classroom. So much so, they have all been bringing their parents in to show them and take photos!! The rest of the school are also very impressed with the items the children produced, and I think the mosaics are going to be mounted and given a permanent home somewhere prominent.