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Glimpse into the Past of Ancient Egyptian Culture
Unwrapping The Mummy (Secrets of the Pharaohs)
Episode 3, Produced by Richard Riesz. Videocassette Dist by PBS Home Video.
Prep For Teachers
Tell the students that they are going to experience what archaeologists do by trying to put together some "ancient Egyptian" pots. Divide the students into groups. Give each group a bag of broken pottery and some white glue. Have the students try to put the pots back together as if they were archaeologists and had found the pieces in the ground.
Discuss the activity. Was it hard to put the pieces together? What if pieces from different pots were mixed in? What if you were missing pieces? Archaeologists do things like this all the time; do you think you could learn about the people who made the pots by putting them back together?
Insert Secrets of the Pharaohs: Lost City of the Pyramids into the VCR. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION, asking them to raise their hand when they can name the site where three major pyramids are built. START the tape right after the opening credits, when a voice is saying "Egypt at the time of the pyramids…". PLAY the tape until the narrator says "Archaeologists had the first signs that this site was the base for a large undertaking." STOP the tape and discuss the information with the students. (The tape will need to be advanced to a location several minutes away.)
To check for comprehension after the video segment, ask questions that address the theory that slaves built the pyramids. Rewind and review the segments as necessary. (For example, one question could ask the students who first introduced the theory that the slaves built the pyramids (Herodotus).)
Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION and ask them to raise their hand when they hear a reason that the builders of the pyramids were not slaves. PLAY the tape when the narrator is saying "The details from the tombs taken from the evidence of food production from the town down below suggested an extremely organized and efficient…". STOP the tape after the narrator says, "From the tombs of the town, a picture was emerging of a construction project manned by a large number of workers who were well fed and highly organized."
Check for comprehension by asking students for specific examples in the Egyptians' diet that led archaeologists to believe that the pyramid builders were not slaves. Make sure that the students understood all vocabulary introduced in the video. Also answer any questions the students might have after viewing the video clips. Discuss with your students various possibilities of where the pyramid builders came from and help them to gather their own opinion on where these people originated.
Learning Activity II:
After a designated period of time, allowing the students in the classroom adequate time to gather ideas and write some of them down, ask if the students would like to share some of their ideas with the rest of the class. This may allow them to expand on their ideas more than if working alone and will allow other students to gather ideas that branch off of those from others.
Explain to your students that the pyramids were complex buildings that had a purpose. Ask your students what the pyramids were chiefly used for (tombs for the pharaohs). Ask the students if the queens were buried in the pyramid as well (they often were). Check to see if students know that there were often several buildings constructed around the pyramids for burial of other people.
Provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking students to fill out a worksheet from the information on the following website: www.ancientegypt.co.uk. Before allowing the students to work on the assignment, give a brief demonstration of how to work through the website. Be sure that all of the students are at the correct website and monitor closely throughout the class period to be sure that they remain on this website.
When entering the website, a drawing of the Nile River will appear and then a lotus flower, often found in Egyptian hieroglyphs, will bloom at the end. The students can advance to the next screen which shows the website menu either by waiting three seconds or by left clicking on the words 'Ancient Egypt' which will appear to the right of the lotus flower. Once the next screen is on the computer, the students will see a word column on the left hand side and a stone tablet with hieroglyphics on the right hand side of the page. Have the students click on the pyramid icon on the stone tablet or click on the word 'pyramid' to their left in the word column.
After clicking on the pyramid, the screen will advance to a page which shows a pyramid in the center and the words "Pyramids: Houses of Eternity" in the upper left hand corner. Students may click on these words to advance to the next screen or may wait for three seconds to allow the computer to advance. The students will then be on a page with a picture of a pyramid in the center and the title "Pyramids". To the left is a column of menu items for this particular page. Also on the page are some paragraphs explaining briefly what the pyramids were, when they were built, and where they are located. Several words throughout the text are hyperlinked (underlined and blue). If one of these words is clicked on, a definition for the word comes up on the screen. Have the students fill in the definitions of various words on their worksheet from the website in this manner.
Toward the bottom of the screen are the words "Story", "Explore", and "Challenge". These will advance the student to another screen and will give them more information about the pyramids. Allow the students to go through the "Story" and "Explore" options in their small groups. The groups can then work at their own pace and the students will be able to explore what they are interested in.
Be sure that the students understand that they must complete their worksheet and that the answers to the questions can all be completed by visiting the various places on the website. Tell the students not to go into the "Challenge" option yet, as this would be a good activity for the entire class to do together.
After allowing time for the students to go through the other sites and gather the needed information, bring them back together and go through the "Challenge" portion together. Gather the class together around a Smart Board or of a projection screen with the computer screen projected onto it. On the website that the students have been working on (www.ancientegypt.co.uk), click on the "Challenge" option that the students have been asked to remain off of.
Provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking the students to raise their hand when they have a response for the height, weight, or area of the Great Pyramid.Introductory Activities:
Establishing a personal connection to history
Ask the students what a mummy is and why it would be useful at this day in age. Write down the students' ideas in the corner of the board. Ask the students how they think a mummy would assist archeologists in their knowledge about ancient Egypt. Insert Secrets of the Pharaohs: Unwrapping the Mummy. Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking the students to determine some ways mummies can assist archeologists and scientists in answering questions about ancient Egyptian lifestyle. PLAY the video starting where the scientist feet are shown walking. STOP the tape when the scientist gets done talking about understanding Egyptians far better than in the past. Ask the students what questions the mummies were assisting the archeologists to answer.
Provide your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking the students to raise their hand when they think they know why mummies are helping us understand Egyptian life so much now, after all they have been around for many years. START the movie and play until it says, "The tombs create a variety of tools, but raise even more questions."
Talk with the students about what is going on now that is helping us to use mummies to understand Egyptian life so much. Discuss with the students what some of the questions may be that are raised by the pictures in the tombs.
Provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking the students to raise their hands when they hear three questions that are raised by the tombs. PLAY the video. STOP at the picture of Azru with the narrator saying, "X-rays transform Azru from a museum mummy into a woman with a history and a story to tell." Once again ask the students what a mummy is and what importance it has this day in age. Write their new ideas next to the ideas they had at the beginning of the class.
Have the computers booted up to http://www.si.umich.edu/CHICO/mummy. Provide a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by having the students fill out the worksheet as they go through the different sights connected to the website. The students can work in groups of two or more if there are not enough computers. Go through the process of mummification according to the worksheet. When talking about the fourth step to mummification, the body cavity is stuffed with natron, define what natron is for your students. Tell them that it has a Latin origin and stands for soda. Ask your students how they think Natron would help in the mummification process? After listening to the responses tell your students that tomorrow they will have an opportunity to mummify an apple.
Slice Apples Each student should get a slice and fill a cup with the "mixture" of his/her choice for mummification. Students will need to weigh their apple slice and write the starting weight on a piece masking tape taped on the cup. Student should also note on cup which "mummification" recipe they have used. Remind students they want to make sure that the apple slices are completely covered. Place the cups on a shelf out of direct sunlight and let them sit for seven days.
One week later:
Calculate the moisture lost for each apple slice by dividing the difference in weight by the starting weight. Discuss with your students the following questions:
Explore Egyptian art using the web site http://www.bergen.org/AAST/Projects/Egypt/egyptian_art.html
The National Teacher