Ancient Egypt – Week 4

Week 4 was all about language and math! We went all in this week. Aside from a fraction multiplication lesson to continue on a theme, all Funball’s work was Ancient Egypt related. Due to her age, not all of Daisy’s work follows the theme quite as much but I think she’s still getting plenty. For a week or so now I’ve seen Ancient Egyptian themes flow into their play which is great! I know it’s all soaking in somehow! On a recent hike Funball picked up sticks that became her crook and flail. This was a really full week and we didn’t get through absolutely everything I had planned. That’s ok, we got all the fun stuff in, and we can slot the other things in if we have time.

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Our week began with some measurement. We talked about how, until very recently, most forms of measurement were based on body parts. As an aside, I was reading The Story of Measurement, which really helped me pepper in some interesting facts! The girls cut lengths of cardboard to the length of their cubit (measure of the forearm) and their palm. They then used these rulers to measure various items around the room and also measured everything in inches. After they were done we compared results, noting that their measures were different because their bodies are different sizes. We talked about how Ancient Egyptians standardized their measures based on the pharaoh’s body – and how confusing it must have been when the standard measures changed!

Ancient Egyptians invented papyrus…so we needed to work with some this week! We started out by making our own, and making our own glue too! The glue recipe we used is based on milk, which we don’t drink, so we just substituted soymilk…and it worked! We gently heated soymilk with a little lemon juice. This curdled the milk, which we strained to keep the curds. With the curds back in the pan, we added a little baking soda and some water, stirring until we got a paste-consistency. We laid out strips of brown paper bag on wax paper, covered with glue and added a perpendicular layer of paper strips, then more glue, and we used another layer of wax paper on top to be able to press the paper flat. We then peeled off the wax paper and left our “papyrus” to dry on baking racks.

Of course we had to then write on actual papyrus! From our homeschool teacher we had a stamping set and a stencil. I had enough sheets for the girls to play around with a sheet each, then we practiced and made cartouches!

Over a month ago we made cuneiform tablets when we talked about Sumer, and this week we wrote on papyrus. I came up with a science experiment to compare the two and see which one the girls think will survive time better, and why. The experiment puts the clay and papyrus to five different tests that simulate things like daily usage, flooding, the desert sun…you can see more and pick up a copy of the experiment here.

Funball’s math was just about all Egypt-based this week. She worked through Alexandria Jones and the Thief in the Night, an edition of a blog magazine with all kinds of math puzzles. We translated numbers, talked about the lack of a zero and lack of place value, and then jumped into multiplication the Ancient Egyptian way. At first Funball didn’t seem too excited, but a week later she taught a friend the process over Zoom, then taught her grandparents too! This is the first time we’ve used this blog, and I hope to be able to pull it in at other times too.

We had some fun doing some art at in the grounds of our local Egyptian museum and playing outdoor senet! It’s a shame it’s closed at the moment, and will be through at least the end of the year. We will go as soon as it’s safe for it to open! Our read aloud this week was Anubis Speaks! – this is a really fun book detailing Ra’s nightly journey through the underworld in story form with a lot of other information thrown in too. It’s just dark enough to be really enticing. I’m glad we fit this book in! We also read and watched some videos about the Rosetta Stone. We had a great week.

You can see our unit plan, and link to other weeks to see what we got up to here: Ancient Egypt Unit Study: The Plan, or check out my Ancient Egypt Pinterest Board.

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