Ancient Egypt Unit Study: The Plan

When I began introducing history, after teaching the Third Great Lesson, we began using Pandia Press’ product, History Quest Early Times (HQET). We got started and found it ok – fun to take along to the park and listen to, but not very engaging activity-wise.

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In the meantime I’d also been reading Story of the World, which I borrowed from the library. I initially dismissed Story of the World (SOTW) because it has a religious bent, but actually, aside from not covering early humans well, the religious parts are contained to easily skippable chapters, I enjoyed this book and the stories told so much more than the Pandia stories. They are also shorter, in more easily digestible chunks. Along with the book, I also borrowed the study guide from the library. I sat down, went through and pulled out all the activities I thought we might like, and also cross referenced all the recommended supplemental texts between the two courses, noting down ones that sounded interesting.

While this was going on, the kids’ enthusiasm for history (and school in general) was waning. We were going through the motions of some of our subject and lesson choices and we needed something interesting, so…I planned and Ancient Egypt unit to take us through to the end of the year. By halfway through the first week enthusiasm seemed to be mounting, and it’s kept going ever since.

I planned six weeks, each week focusing on a particular aspect or theme. For the most part, the weeks can be done in any order, and most activities can be done at different levels by both kids. Our fabulous teacher pulled some great resources for us and I took full advantage of our local library. I always try to plan more than we need, and cut whatever doesn’t seem to be engaging us at the time.

Here’s our plan:

Week 1: Introduction and The Nile
– read SOTW: Chapter 2, part 1
– read HQET: Chapter 5, Egypt: Part One (until discussion of writing)
– read Bill & Pete Go Down the Nile
– read Miss Frizzle’s Adventures: Ancient Egypt
– build and flood our own Nile River
– draw a map of The Nile and label with cutouts from History Pockets: Ancient Egypt
– Funball: read Horrible Histories Magazine, Nile Style (or as much as she wants)
– Funball: create a timeline to be filled in as we go
– Funball: write a presentation quality summary of the importance of The Nile to Egyptian Civilization
– Funball: dictionary work and text comprehensions page from Ancient Civilizations: Egypt packet.

Week 2: Egyptian Gods and Goddesses
– read Treasury of Egyptian Mythology (National Geographic)
– read SOTW: Chapter 2, part 2
– read Ra the Mighty: Cat Detective
– read Anubis Speaks!
– design and describe your own God/dess
– play Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses Guess Who!
– Funball: demonstrate knowledge of 6 Egyptian God/desses. Format TBD
– Funball: begin Geronimo Stilton and the Curse of the Daisy Pyramid novel study
– Daisy: coloring and handwriting practice gods and goddesses booklet
– Daisy: read aloud: Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

Week 3: Egyptian Math and Writing
– read SOTW: Chapter 3
– read Hieroglyphs
– read The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone
– watch Seeker of Knowledge
– make glue and papyrus
Clay vs. Papyrus experiment
– write on papyrus – create your own cartouche
hieroglyph stamps, stencils, make up your own notes, etc.
– translate hieroglyphs worksheet
– Egyptian measuring – cubits and palms
History Pockets page 80 – reverse dictionary
– Funball: Denise Gaskin’s Alexandria Jones and the Thief in the Night
– Funball: create presentation quality work on Egyptian multiplication
– Funball: create presentation quality work with hieroglyphics
– Funball: continue Geronimo Stilton and the Curse of the Daisy Pyramid novel study

Week 4: Pyramids and Mummies
watch and read Pyramid
– read SOTW: Chapter 4
– read HQET: History Hop! The Chief Embalmer
– read Usborne Mummies and Pyramids
– read If You Were a Kid Building a Pyramid
History Pockets pages 56-58 – inside a tomb
History Pockets pages 65-67 – the Pyramid of Giza
– make a mummy/decorate a sarcophagus
– build a pyramid thinking about the squares of numbers
– build geometric solids from toothpicks and marshmallows
– Funball: write about the opening of the mouth ceremony and/or mummification process
– Funball: complete Geronimo Stilton and the Curse of the Daisy Pyramid novel study

Week 5: Daily Life in Ancient Egypt
– read A Child Through Time – Ancient Egypt Page
– read Kids in Ancient Egypt
– read Egyptian Life
– read The Scarab’s Secret
– create a timeline of your day in Ancient Egypt
– make a shabti doll
– play senet
– Funball: Ancient Egypt creative writing project

Week 6: Pharaohs and Dates
– read SOTW: chapter 13
– read HQET: History Hop! The Pharoah
– read The Royal Diaries: Cleopatra
– read You Wouldn’t Want to be Cleopatra
– read Hatshepsut: His Majesty, Herself
– read Who Was King Tut
– read Howard and the Mummy
– excavate gems
– create a sarcophagus
– Funball: add dates to timeline booklet
– Funball: write about pharaohs

You can also check out my Pinterest board for our Ancient Egypt Unit!

We have a lot to do! I have a lot more books for us to dip into – reference books, historical fiction novels, and picture books to read when we get a moment, so hopefully we’ll get to read most of them! I think the “bigger” activities like making shabti dolls, making papyrus, and building the Nile River will be a hit. However especially for Funball, I’m allowing a lot of wiggle room for specific pieces of work she chooses to present and how we put it all together at the end. We’ll talk about her options and see what she comes up with.

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