Teacher's Guide for CALLIOPE: Pyramids and Egypt's Old Kingdom
Teacher guide prepared by: Peggy Epstein, Language Arts Teacher: Shawnee Mission High School, Overland Park Kansas; Ruskin High School, Kansas City, Missouri; MA Instruction and Curriculum University of Missouri at Kansas City.
For "The World of Egypt's Old Kingdom" (Introductory Activity for those
with little background)
- to develop an appreciation for an ancient culture and the attempts to preserve that culture
- to practice geography skills
- to improve comprehension skills (particularly by being cognizant of transitions, practicing scanning skills, and utilizing graphic organizers)
- to practice writing skills through a variety of activities both practical and creative
- to develop and enrich vocabulary
- to participate in small group and whole class activities
For "Religion and the Afterlife"
- Provide students with an unmarked map of the world on one side of the sheet, an unmarked map of Egypt on the other.
- Guide students in locating Egypt and naming its continent.
- Ask students to brainstorm the correct answers as to what lies to the north, south, east, and west of Egypt; what the pyramids are; and where they can be found.
- Ask students if they can name some burial traditions, either in our current society or other cultures they know about.
- Prepare a graphic organizer in the form of a time line with arrows leading from each of the five sections to the next and which asks students to summarize the evolution of the burial
practices of the early Egyptians.
- Include the following:
- early graves
- what those early graves evolved into
- "In time" (middle of second paragraph) add what was inside of these tombs
- what the royal mastabas evolved into
- the evolution would end with the "true pyramid"
- Bonus question: Find on page 7 the "totally incorrect notion" (answer: "that aliens . . . built the pyramids")
- Next, ask students to brainstorm what kinds of ideas different cultures have about the afterlife. Explain the ancient Egyptian belief as well as the concept of the "akh."
- Ask students to find, in the last paragraph, the three preparations needed for the afterlife. Answers: having a sturdy tomb, storing up treasure, and having knowledge of the afterlife. (If students are ready for this concept, ask them to write the three as parallel phrases - a skill which could easily be practiced by writing about much of the information in this particular issue.)
For "Queens of the Old Kingdom"
- For "Glossary of Gods"
Creative Writing Assignment
- Tell students they have just been hired to design an interactive computer game featuring the ancient Egyptian gods.
- Their assignment is to clearly explain the goal of the game, the way in which it is played, and the rules - in complete detail.
- Students must appropriately include at least six of the gods listed and described on page 9.
- Optional: Drawings to accompany the text.
For "Building a Pyramid"
- Make sure students understand the word "divine."
- Study questions:
- Why were marriages kept within the family?
- What happened when a son was too young to rule when he inherited the throne?
- How do we know the names of the mothers of some of the first kings of Egypt?
- When the king was called the son of Re, who was regarded as the human form of his divine wife?
- Who are three women who ruled the country during the second half of the old kingdom?
- What did the pyramid tombs of the queens' structures come equipped with?
For "Getting around in the Old Kingdom," "Egyptians at Play," "Family Values and Society," "Mud Brick Houses," "Meal Time," "A Good Night's Sleep," "A High Score in Personal Hygiene," and "Egyptians at Play"
- Using a graphic organizer in the shape of a pyramid, have students summarize the information and divide appropriately. You might proceed as follows:
- Divide students into groups of 3 - 4 and provide each group with a large sheet of butcher paper on which to draw a triangle as wide at the paper at the bottom and narrowing gradually toward the top. (You might want to draw these yourself depending on the ability level
of the students.)
- Then, taking the information from pages 15 - 17, students will summarize the steps in planning and building the pyramid. (Remind students that we actually don't know much of this
information.) Since the information in the article is not all in chronological order, students will need to read it through once before beginning. (Remind students to be on the look out for transitional words.)
- These steps should be written onto the pyramid in order, starting at the bottom with a line drawn across the pyramid separating each step.
- On the back of the pyramid sheet, ask students to answer this question: Why do we think Egyptians chose the shape of the pyramid? Ask them to include the words "primeval" and "fetish" in their answer.
- Taken together, these articles provide an excellent picture of daily life in ancient Egyptian times. Students are provided with all the material they need to create individual diary entries.
- To begin, have students draw from a bag in which you have placed an equal number of cards reading "child:male," "child:female," "adult:male," "adult:female." (NOTE: If you have access to a source with appropriate names for the time period, students might enjoy naming their ""person.")
- Each student is to begin with seven sheets of lined paper, each labeled with the days of the week. On each, students are to create a diary in which they tell information about daily life on that particular day - writing in first person from the viewpoint of the person on the card they have drawn - using the information from the articles listed above. This would probably be an extended assignment, so as a suggestion perhaps, 50 - 100 words for each day, using ideas from at least two different articles for each, and including, by the time they are finished, something from each one of the articles.
Alternate assignment for those interested in oral work: Ask students to pair up and create dialogues between two of the characters whose cards they have drawn, again referring to the articles for information. These dialogues would then be presented to the class.
For "The Cairo-Brown Expedition"
"The Giza Archives Project"
- Before beginning, refer back to "Egypt and the Egyptologis" on page 7. Discuss in what ways the philologists, the archaeologists, and the art historians are all different, yet all can be called Egyptologists. You might ask students which jobs they
would prefer to do and why.
- Initiate discussion on the last three paragraphs of the Cairo-Brown article; explain to students why such regulations are in place and what kind of precautions archaeologists must take anywhere they work and study.
- Explain the term "graduate student" to students (Jonathan M. Keiser, author of the next article) so that they will understand he is a young person.
- Because it is written in first person, it would be effective to ask students to take turns reading aloud Keiser's article, "Working on Site at Giza." This is a particularly descriptive piece with lots of sensory detail to help students get a true picture of this kind of work.
- After reading and discussing the article, ask students to engage in two writing activities:
- Write an ad for student volunteers to come to the site at Giza to assist with the work being done there. They will be given free transportation, food, and housing.
- Write a response to the ad stating why the student is interested in Egyptology and why he or she would be a good choice for the position.
- After reading the article, ask students to create posters advertising the museum. Encourage students to use anything they have learned in the entire unit on Egypt (anything in the magazine) to talk about why visiting such a museum and learning about Egyptology would be interesting.
- Poster should include attractive graphics; encourage students to create their own or re-create something from the magazine or another source.
- Poster should tell the location of the museum, a little something about its history, and a description of what people will see there.
- If possible, students could visit the web site listed at the end of the article before starting their posters.
- This page will give you some great links to Ancient Egpyt:
- SCORE History Social Science Resources by Topic/Keyword and search the Resources Database for "Ancient Egypt."