Ancient Egypt Unit Study: Week 4

Welcome to your last week of Ancient Egypt! Much of what we know about ancient Egypt is because of the work of archeologist and Egyptologists. We will dig deeper into the past with the help of books and videos and lots of hands-on work. As always, follow your child’s lead—and have fun! Want to track your progress along the way? Download our skills and books tracker here for your records.

What you need:

Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):

Optional additional reading:

Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):

Note: We break down our supply list by so you can choose what you need based on which lessons you plan to do with your child.

Build a model Egyptian home:

Hot air, cold air experiment:

  • 2 plastic or glass containers
  • ice
  • balloon
  • 2L plastic soda bottle

DIY bowling game:

Basbousa recipe:

Archaeologist dig:

  • large tub or kiddie pool (alternatively, you could prepare your dig in the ground if you have the space)
  • dirt
  • terracotta pot (these are expensive online but can be purchased cheaply at a hardware or garden store)
  • permanent markers
  • spoons, shovels, paint brushes
  • painter’s or masking tape
  • sticky notes
  • hot glue gun + glue (you can use regular glue, but it will take longer to dry)

Optional for game schooling:

What to do:

We recommend doing the below lessons in this order to build on each skill your child will develop, but don’t feel that you *need* to do them in this order. Do what works for you and your child. If they love an activity, feel free to repeat! Not a winner? Skip and try the next thing. Have fun!

Lesson 1:

Today will be all about daily life in Egypt. Would you want to live like an ancient Ancient Egyptian?

Activity 1: Read + Discuss. Today, let’s read pages 138-139 from the Usborne World History book to learn more about daily life at home.

What kind of jobs did people have in ancient Egypt? Read pages 38 and 39 of DK Findout! to learn about the ancient jobs. Ask your child: What would you want your job to be if you lived in ancient Egypt? Next, ask your child to write or tell you a story about an imaginary person in Egypt, living in their village doing their job. The story can be silly or funny but should include as many true elements of Egyptian life as they can remember.

Activity 2: Learn more about the pottery of ancient Egypt on page 27. Now, decorate your own terracotta pot using permanent markers. (Some children might prefer using a pencil first and then tracing their design in marker once they are happy with what they have drawn.) Use the hieroglyphics or pictures from your books or the internet as a model. This pot will be used at the end of the week when we do our dig.

Lesson 2:

Activity 1: Read + Discover. How did non-royal ancient Egyptians live? Read DK Findout! pages 24 and 25 for a peak into their homes. Read this post to learn more. (Don’t watch the video, it doesn’t apply.)

Activity 2: Build a model home. Do a Google search for “ancient Egyptian homes images.” Once you have learned about different kinds of simple homes from our reading and have seen images of these homes on the internet, decide which type of home your child wants to build. Start by drawing out the design on paper first. Then, using modeling clay and cardboard, build a model home. Alternatively, they could build it with LEGOs or on Minecraft. 

Activity 3: Science application. Did you notice that some of the homes had two floors? What was the advantage of having a lower floor? It was cooler and food could be stored there for longer. Let’s find the scientific reason why this happened. This experiment will demonstrate that hot air rises and cool air settles to the bottom. (Note: Despite what the post says, we had better results when we heated the water. Make sure you’re using a tall carafe or container.) Why does this happen? Read this post to find the answer.

Lesson 3:

Life wasn’t all hard work for ancient Egyptians. Today, we’ll examine some of the sports and games that kept them entertained.

Activity 1: Research. How did the Egyptians play? Read about their games in the Usborne World History interactive links and see photos of ancient toys and games. Read this post to learn about a game invented by the ancient Egyptians that we still play today – bowling

Activity 2: Make your own version of this game to play at home.

Activity 3: Play the game on pages 50 and 51 of the DK Findout! book. (You will need a dice.)

Lesson 4:

Activity 1: Food History.

Basbousa is a popular sweet cake made of semolina or farina soaked in syrup. The syrup may also optionally contain orange flower water or rose water. This dish is very common in Egypt and this cake has many years of service in the Egyptian kitchen. It appears to be a variant of the Egyptian dish ma’mounia. (source)

Activity 2: Bake this basbousa recipe. As you bake, try the math application below.

Activity 3: Math application. Here are a few things to try to get their math skills working:

  • (-)When following a recipe, we can list the order we do things by using ordinal numbers (i.e., first, second, third, etc.). As you go through the steps, instead of saying “step one,” say “first step.” Use ordinal numbers throughout the process. By doing this, you will review ordinal numbers 1-14.  
  • Dividing our dessert into portions. Into how many pieces will you be able to cut your dessert? Watch this Math Antics Video: Fractions are Division to better understand this math concept. Using your fraction manipulatives and index cards, play and practice writing fraction forms.
    •  4 huge portions (fourths) , 8 large portions (eights), or 16 (sixteenths) small portions.
  • Watch this Math Antics Video to practice adding and subtracting fractions. You can use your dessert as your manipulative. If you cut your dessert into 8 equal pieces, each piece is ⅛ of the whole pie. If the grownup and the child each get a piece (⅛ + ⅛) you will have served 2/8 of your dessert. How many would be left for the rest of the family? 8/8 – 2/8 = ? 
  • Read the book Fractions in Disguise (or listen to this read aloud) for more fraction fun.
Lesson 5:

For our final day, let’s dig into some archaeology. ⛏️⛏️⛏️ (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves!) Read the interview with Dr. Kemp on pages 54 and 55 of DK Findout!

Activity 1:  What is an archaeologist? What is an artifact? 

Archaeologists are the scientists who study artifacts, or man-made objects that people have left behind in history. Archaeologists are like detectives. By looking at artifacts, they try to figure out how long ago people lived; how they governed themselves; what art they created; their religious beliefs; their technology, science, and invention; and their daily life. Clues archaeologists use to answer these and other questions about past civilizations can sometimes be found in the artifacts they dig up. 

While looking for artifacts to study, archaeologists can find themselves in some very dangerous situations. Archaeologists have explored ruins deep in jungles, dug up remains of villages in dangerous deserts, and have even searched underwater! But archaeologists are so curious about the past, they are willing to brave the dangers of poisonous animals and plants, of unclean conditions, or an unfriendly political climate, to discover more about human life through the study of artifacts. [source]

Optional reading: Archaeologists Dig for Clues

Learn about other archeologists and their famous finds on pages 56 and 57 in DK Findout!.

Activity 2: Archeology Dig. Plan a homemade ancient Egyptian dig. Your child will learn how an archaeologist discovers artifacts. Use “archaeologist tools,” such as small shovels, spoons, and paintbrushes in your homemade dig. Here’s your inspiration.

Preparing your dig: If you haven’t already done Lesson 1 this week, begin by decorating a terracotta pot in hieroglyphics or Egyptian drawings using permanent markers. Next, smash it! 🔨 (But not too hard, or your pieces will be too small.) Be sure to use protective goggles and wrap your pot in a cloth to protect your body and eyes from broken pieces. Finally, place the pieces in a prepared space. You can use a large plastic tub or child’s pool. Add dirt or soil to the bin to cover the broken pieces. 

Get to work: Grid your working space with painter’s tape so you can identify where each piece is found. Label each quadrant with a sticky note.

On a piece of paper, draw your dig area and graph and label your quadrants to match your site. List and/or draw your finds from your dig onto your paper, including details like a description of the artifact, its color, any special markings, material, and measurements. Since most of the pieces are small, use the metric system (centimeters) to measure each fragment.  

Once you have found all the pieces, carefully glue them back together again.

Activity 3: Creative writing.  Archaeologists also make observations about ancient people based on their finds. Ask your child to write a story about the family who possessed their ancient artifact. Include details about the family and why the pot was broken. Were they caught in a dust storm and had to flee? Did they move suddenly because of famine? Did they lose it in the field while they picked grain? Did an animal knock it out of their hand? Anything goes with free creative writing, so let them have fun with this!
(+) Want more? Try this writing prompt.

Optional field trip: Planning a road trip? Check here for local digs to visit. You could also visit a Natural History Museum with artifacts from ancient Egypt. Check the list for a museum near you.

Optional additional activity: Have you every tried gameschooling? This week, introduce the game Professor’s Noggin’s Ancient Civilizations Trivia Card Game . We will learn about several ancient civilizations this year, so this game can be used all year long. Pull out the cards about Egypt to start playing and learning together.

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Published by The Learn + Live Letter

The Learn + Live Letter is a play- and project-based homeschool curriculum for children ages 3-12.

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