Lesson Plans: Treasures of Ancient Egypt


Journey Into TimeThe study of funerary practices among Ancient Civilizations can serve as an intriguing gateway to learning for adolescent youth. This lesson will broaden students' understanding of the After-life in ancient Egypt by allowing them to incorporate Egyptian customs into the reality of present life. Thus the student will develop a greater appreciation of Egyptian society, the Egyptian view of mortality, and the economic importance of the funerary "industry."

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Mini MummiesAncient Egyptian tombs have unveiled mysteries of how people lived in ancient times. This lesson provides an opportunity for students to explore and interpret many aspects of this ancient civilization and express their findings through visual art.

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Wearable SculptureThroughout the ages, people have created and worn body adornments to represent many aspects of their lives, belief systems, geography, and artistic abilities. The jewelry that we choose to wear often defines us as individuals and as a society. In an exploration of the jewelry and traditions of ancient Mediterranean and our own cultures, students will be encouraged to expand and challenge their notions of body adornment and sculpture while experimenting with non traditional materials and techniques to communicate an intended meaning through their work.

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Mummification: Steps in the ProcessStudents are fascinated with mummies from their earliest exposure through stories, books, pictures, and movies. By the time they reach secondary school, they know some of the information and are eager to learn the specifics of the process of mummification. Since "the mummy" at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia has been one of the most motivating shows for youth, this lesson plan will only serve to heighten their interest.

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Egyptian Scarabs: Oh What Charming Beetles!Children are surrounded by symbols from the natural world. This lesson will provide an opportunity to learn about Egyptian scarabs and about the spunky little dung beetles that inspired them. The importance of insects in our environment will be explored and students will create amulets that have personal meaning.

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Loaded WordsThe term “hieroglyph” translates roughly as “sacred carving” or “holy words”. Egyptian hieroglyphics are a complex written language displayed in the form of elaborate, low relief carvings, once brilliantly painted and discovered on ancient objects and architecture throughout Egypt.

Over time, this simple graffiti developed into its own complex form of visual communication vibrantly recorded on objects and architecture throughout the world.  In this lesson, students will explore the communication and design challenges of making their own graffiti.

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Sharon Artifacts - lesson 2The job of an artisan in Ancient Egypt was as important as a teacher/scribe. Students will learn that creating art in ancient times was valued and provided a good lifestyle. Artisans were housed in a special place in the palace where food and drink was provided in abundance for their careful work. Fashioning objects for the pharaoh to enjoy in his/her lifetime was indeed an honour. Many of these objects of beauty would most certainly accompany him/her into the afterlife. The creation of wall paintings and objects required a lifetime of learning and precise skill.  World knowledge about daily life in Egypt has been gleaned through the treasure trove of artifacts found in the great pyramids and tombs in the Valley of the Kings.

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Monuments through TimeRationale:Monuments have been built over time by civilizations all over the world. Some of the best known that exist in the northern hemisphere are those built thousands of years ago by the Egyptians and Greeks. This lesson will provide an opportunity to learn about monuments the world over, with special focus on those of ancient Egypt and Greece. In groups, students will design a monument for their own community and write a proposal that explains why it should be constructed.

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How Heavy is your Heart?Rationale: Civilizations have long speculated on what awaits us in the afterlife. The Book of the Dead was, for ancient Egyptians, a collection of spells, songs, and prayers meant to ensure a deceased person’s safe passage to and a prosperous life in the other world, provided, of course, that their pharaoh was properly mummified!  Portions of the book portray, in pictorial splendor, the dramatic events that would allegedly unfold when the deceased soul arrived in the land of the dead. The measure of the quality of one’s life was established by the weighing of one’s heart on a scale balanced by a feather, which depicted goodness and truth.

In this lesson, students will be asked to consider the many perceptions across world religions and cultures of “goodness” and use this knowledge to create a lighthearted dramatic comparative representation of an ancient Egyptian and a modern day “crossing over to the other side”.

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