Mar 24, 2017


5K Explores Ancient Egypt

5K students and teachers decided it wasn’t enough to just study Egypt, they wanted to demonstrate their knowledge and teach their classmates about this ancient civilization. These new students used a variety of presentation methods and then even assessed their peers learning. Some students used posters or Google slides, while others created Prezi presentations and even their own websites to instruct the class. Throughout their presentations, students were given feedback from teachers like, “Make sure you’re speaking to the audience.” Students also worked on other important public speaking skills, like signposting your presentation and pacing it to fit the needs (and attention spans) of your audience.

Teachers and guest audience members were in for a treat as students shared some fun facts about the following people, places, or other subjects:

  • Cleopatra (Audrey and Jesse): Did you know that Cleopatra spoke 9 languages?! The class had a lively conversation about whether or not Cleopatra was a good leader and how she used her femininity as political power.
  • The Great Pyramids/Pyramid Discussion (Alex and Daniel): Apparently geometry was very important in pyramid construction, which makes sense. Alex taught us that one pyramid was built at a 52 degree angle instead of the typical 43 degrees. As a result, the pyramid became cracked and builders had to use their math skills to identify and correct the problem. The Great Pyramid of Giza weights 5,995,000 tons (1.2 trillion pounds) and is 40 stories tall.
  • Mummification Process (SJ and Ana): The class learned all about the mummification process, including who got to become a mummy (wealthy citizens), where they were buried (pyramid or mastabas), and about a hook rod. The hook rod makes us a little queasy, but feel free to Google it and find out for yourself.
  • Animals of Ancient Egypt (Jesse): Partners from Pre-Kindergarten joined the class for this presentation to learn about what animals symbolized (beetles- new life, falcons/hawks-royalty) and some, like cats, were thought of as divine. Jesse got into character by wearing cat ears throughout her presentation.
  • Hieroglyphics (Rosie and Charlotte): We learned that the first hieroglyphics were made around 3000 B.C.E. and that only 3% of the population, folks called Scribes, could read or write in the language. You know which way to read hieroglyphics by paying attention to which way the animal/object on the end is facing.
  • Mastabas (Ollie): These early tombs predated pyramids and were usually 30 feet tall, with the length being 4 times the width (Egyptians liked math…a lot). Each structure contained a chapel above ground and burial chambers below. Commoners still used mastabas, even when more wealthy Egyptians began using pyramids.
  • Hatshepsut (Lucy and Ave): we learned that Hatshepsut had 16 family members and her name meant “foremost of noblewomen”. True to her name, Hatshepsut chose to be called a Pharaoh and opened trade with other African empires, like Namibia. She was seen as good and legitimate ruler by Egpytians. 
  • Kufu (Michael): Michael taught us all about Khufu, who was the 2nd pharaoh of the 4th dynasty. The Great Pyramids of Giza contained Kufu’s tomb and he was known has a cruel king for killing 3 people and enslaving many others.
  • King Tut (Azhar): King Tut ruled for 10 years, beginning when he was just 9 years old! He rests in an all gold tomb and is known for restoring polytheism, the traditional religion of ancient Egypt, to the kingdom. He was seen as an effective ruler who restored Egpyt after the failures of his father.
  • Akhenaten (Matt): Speaking of which…Akhenaten was King Tut’s father and a controversial pharaoh. Akhenaten built an expensive city for himself called Armana and established monotheism in Egpyt, which hurt the economy as tradesmen and artists could no longer produce as many gods and goddesses for worship. The ruler also suffered from Marfan’s Syndrome, a genetic disorder (incestual dynastic relationships probably didn’t help) that results in extremely long arms, legs, and fingers.

After teaching us all about Ancient Egypt, it was time for the 5th graders to assess their pupils. Students used a variety of methods, like: quizzes (paper and web-based), Jeopardy, Kahoot, and Padlet. Sometimes the class worked individually and sometimes we worked in teams, but everyone was engaged in sharing what we were just taught by our amazing teachers!