Ancient Egypt Round-Up
They way we typically school is to do a deep dive on a subject of interest and to explore that in a multi-disciplinary fashion. During our days we rarely mention subject names and instead prefer to learn and extend that learning a variety of ways.
I've spoken on this type of Deep Dive planning at the SHBE Conference and love equipping other parents and educators. If you're looking for a speaker you can check out the BOOK MONIQUE page on this website. I also have a One Thing Planning guide in my SHOP.
Considering that I don't create unit plans in quite the same way I did when I was teaching public school full time I thought I'd at least do a round up of some of the activities we did and resources we used on our deep dives. The first up is Ancient Egypt! This was a really fun one and we could've kept going but I'm sure we'll return to it at some point down the road ;)
The first thing I do when prepping a deep dive is to find a ton of books and ideally at least one novel that will serve as our "living book" for our study. Reading a narrative is one of our favourite ways to learn about history as it's a way of immersing yourself in the culture and you care deeply for the characters and what they are experiencing. It brings that content to LIFE.
I use our province's Interlibrary Loan System to search keywords and start ordering books which I pick up at the local library. It doesn't matter if we don't end up using them all, I order as many as possible and then pick the best ones.
The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
"Ranofer struggles to thwart the plottings of his evil brother, Gebu, so he can become master goldsmith like their father in this exciting tale of ancient Egyptian mystery and intrigue."
We didn't get to this one but there were tons of amazing reviews on it. I believe you can also get the audiobook for free on Hoopla.
"Trouble Times Ten" - this was a collection of short novels and was set in Egypt during the plagues. The kids enjoyed this one.
The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
We're big fans of Riordan and though we haven't read this one yet I've included it. We're loving Percy Jackson and I've started The Red Pyramid myself. We will eventually read it but if I were doing this unit again we would totally read it during our studies.
Picture and Non Fiction Books
We learned a lot from the "You wouldn't want to be a....." series. Specific to Egypt we read:
You Wouldn't Want To Be....
"An Egyptian Pyramid Builder"
"An Egyptian Mummy"
Smithsonian Timelines of Everything
This was probably the most video heavy of any deep dive we've done. I've created a playlist on Youtube that you can go to to find all the videos we watched. Some of it gets repetitive but it's good reinforcement. (Just click the title)
Ancient Egypt - Rise and Fall
The Timeline of Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt Crash Course
Kids Animated History of Egypt
Why Was the Great Sphynx of Giza Built?
Exploring King Tut's Tomb
Ancient Egypt for Kids
Who Built the Pyramids
How the Pyramids Were Built
James Acaster - The Absurdity of British Colonization : This is a comedy bit by a British comedian. It's hilarious and brings up the absurdity (in a light hearted way) of western powers stealing other countries cultural artifacts. Screen it - I can't remember if there is any language ;)
We also watched National Geographic's Lost Treasures of Egypt on Prime Video
Art is such a great way to explore culture and history. We did lots of viewing of Egyptian Art and Hieroglyphs.
Pharaoh's Head Square Paintings
- Just sketch the simple outline of a Pharoah's head and then fill in with tiny square brush strokes.
Doodle Water Colour Map
- In our learning journals we doodled a map of ancient Egypt and then used watercolour to paint it.
Colouring Egyptian Gods
This was just a quick independent activity for a day where I was working but we cut them out and included them in our Egypt Travel Journals
Ted Harrison Inspired Pyramid Pictures
- we love Ted Harrison's work and decided to take his signature style away from the Canadian North and bring it to Egypt. His work is so kid friendly.
- First draw simple sunset lines on a piece of painting paper. On a separate paper draw 3 (3D) pyramids.
- Paint your sunset page and paint your pyramids.
- Cut out your pyramids and glue them to the foreground of your sunset painting
Text is art! Especially Egyptian Hieroglyphs. The kids had to write their names and other chosen phrases.
Faux Travel Pics
I'll outline our Egyptian Travel Journal Below but highlight the kids Procreate images here.
- The kids used stock photos of Egypt + pictures of themselves, imported them to Procreate and then used the tools in Procreate to put themselves in Egypt.
- If you have an ipad I totally recommend buying Procreate. This app is a powerhouse and I find it so much more user friendly than Photoshop. Plus a lot of the skills translate (like using layers, cloning, selection, etc).
Most of our science regarding Ancient Egypt was learning about the mummification process. This led to exploring what causes decay and the breakdown of organic matter, how can we slow or stop decay, a small study on fungus and how to preserve food by drying and use of salt.
We set up 3 bowls containing the same food items and altered the conditions of each.
1) Uncovered and exposed to air
2) Mixed with salt and exposed to air
3) Sealed in a plastic bag
Observe over the weeks.
Discussions and exploration of life around the Nile and how important rivers were to early civilizations.
English Language Arts
We did so much reading (books listed above and a few I didn't write down). Obviously our video list was extensive and provided lots of learning through viewing and listening and led to rich discussions.
I chose to do one extensive writing project for this deep dive which was the Egypt Travel Journal.
I used to try to move so quickly through writing assignments but I'm learning that slowing it down and choosing quality over quantity is benefiting our education a lot. What I love about doing a deep dive is that we are IMMERSED in the content. We come at it from every angle and we cannot help but to know it well.
It is SO crucial for kids to KNOW what they are writing about (sorry for all the emphasizing ;) ). I see far too often in the school system kids choosing a topic to write about that they know nothing about and they have a class or two to research it and ultimately end up copy and pasting most of their information from websites and then crafting it into their presentation or writing. I digress.
Here's the general flow of this project:
1. We made a list of some of the places in Egypt that we had learned about and that they'd be interested in visiting.
2. They started collecting stock pictures of these places and then took pictures of themselves in various poses. They then imported them both into Procreate and edited the images to put themselves into these pictures. (We watched a video tutorial and then I guided them through the process.)
3. They started writing a travel journal entry to go along with each picture. Over the years we have worked a lot on learning to convey factual information within the form of a narrative. We love reading non fiction but we also love learning through narrative like historical fiction. It's a skill they've worked hard at to be able to show and incorporate educational facts in an interesting way. We discussed the requirements for that within these journal entries. That we were aiming for fun anecdotes about their "travels" but to also showcase interesting information about those locations and their history.
4. We made our books with a paper bag and paper.
5. We revised their journal entries together.
6. They wrote their good copies of their entries into their journal and glued in their pictures.
7. They went through and added doodles and sketches.
This ALL counts as Social Studies lol.
When learning about a culture we always pay attention to the types of foods that were plentiful, what they ate, their ideas on exercise and types of medicine they used or interesting beliefs they had about the body and how it worked.
Obviously due to mummification the Egyptians knew a fair amount about our internal organs and body systems ;) This article is a decent jumping off point : Ancient Egyptian Medicine.
We love celebrating learning or kicking it off with fun activities with a party feel. For this deep dive I partnered with Lock Paper Scissors to host an Escape Room of an Egyptian Tomb. You can check out the full blog post here : The Lost Mummy Escape Room.
Overall we really enjoyed studying Ancient Egypt and I'm sure we'll come back to it through out the years as well and build on our knowledge.