5. Where We Are in Place and Time
Why Egyptians Loved Their Mummies
Ancient civilizations still have an impact on our lives today.
- FUNCTION: how mummification works, how to read hieroglyphics.
- CONNECTION: Ancient Egyptian technology still used today.
- PERSPECTIVE: why certain people were mummified.
- THINKING: observing what happens and explaining why.
- RESEARCH: finding out what Ancient Egyptian technology is still used today.
- COMMUNICATION: presenting findings to the class.
To introduce this topic, you could create a tomb in the classroom using sheets/cardboard and tables/chairs. Inside the tomb, stick pictures of Ancient Egyptian artefacts and hieroglyphics. Allow individuals or a small group at a time to explore the tomb. When they come out, they need to note down/draw what they saw. To make it more challenging, you could make the tomb bigger and the children need to map out the tunnels!
Check what children already know about Ancient Egyptians and make a class mind map. You could use sticky notes or software like Padlet.
Question 1 (p. 62): Timeline
Look at the timeline on page 60–61. Go over with the children what BCE stands for (Before Common Era). What else is it sometimes known as? (BC)
Remind children about reading a timeline. Give children different dates that are on the timeline – can they point to them? Can the children note anything different about the numbers? (They are getting smaller – this is the opposite way to a number line). Discuss with children why this is.
Check the children’s understanding of reading timelines by asking them to plot the three kingdoms of Egypt on the timeline.
EXTEND activity: Life in Ancient Egypt
Questions 3 (p. 64): Pharaohs research
Discuss Ancient Egyptian pharaohs as a class. Can the children name any well-known ones? Write these on the board as a starting point for the children’s research.
Show the children the fact card on page 64 and explain that they are going to research different Ancient Egyptian pharaohs to create their own set of fact cards. Once they are finished, they need to add when their pharaohs ruled to their timeline.
Question 5, 6 & 7 (pp. 65–67): Mummification science experiment
Demonstrate how to mummify a tomato (steps are on pages 65–66). Remind the children to take a photo or draw a picture of the tomato before they begin the process, and to describe how it feels and smells.
Make sure children pack plenty of salt in and around the tomato before ideally placing it in the sunshine.
You could choose a variety of vegetables to mummify to compare at the end of the forty days.
Question 11 (p. 68): Hieroglyphics
Explain to children that Ancient Egyptians had their own way of writing and used their own alphabet (children will have probably heard of it before!).
Show children an example on the board – how is it different from our modern alphabet? There are some hieroglyphs in the background of pages 58–59 too.
Explain that we didn’t work out the Ancient Egyptian language until the Rosetta Stone was found in Egypt in 1799.
The Rosetta Stone is a slab of granite that was created in 196 BCE by a group of priests who wrote about all the good things the pharaoh had done for them. What makes it so interesting is that the same piece of text has been written in three different languages, one after the other. It shows there were three different types of writing used in Ancient Egypt during that time and, by understanding one of the pieces of writing, you can work out the other languages.
Allow children time to come up with their own hieroglyphic alphabet – remind them to keep in simple!
Question 11 (p. 70): Inventions
Explain to the children that there is Ancient Egyptian technology we still use today! For example, paper comes from papyrus, which is what the Egyptians used to write on.
You may want to put a few examples on the board as a starting point for some children during their research task. The website Discovering Egypt gives some examples that you can use.
Reflection (p. 71)
Allow children time to complete the reflection at the end of the chapter. This is a great opportunity to discuss with the children what they have learnt now and what their favourite part of the chapter was. Remind them to look back at the questions they asked at the start. Can they answer them now?
Give children lesson time to answer any questions they haven’t covered in the chapter. If all of their questions have been answered, children could delve deeper into a particular part of the chapter they found interesting