8-10 yrs old
Reading and Writing
Students discover and explore the history of Ancient Egypt. This lesson focuses on the architecture of Ancient Egypt.
February 23, 2021
Egypt Toybox world
Minecraft: Education Edition world file
Women in Power
A Day in the Life of an Ancient Egptian
Video: Building the pyramids
The Great Sphinx
Lesson Overview Video
Egypt Toybox Interactive Image
Egypt Toybox Rubric
Standards alignment: MCREL Compendium of K-12 Standards
Standard 3: Understands the major characteristics of civilization and the development of civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley.
Standard 5: Understand the political, social, and cultural consequences of population movements and militarization in Eurasia in the second millennium BCE.
Standard 1: Understands and knows how to analyze chronological relationships and patterns.
Standard 2: Understands the historical perspective.
Standard 1: Understands the characteristics and uses of maps, gloves, and other geographic tools and technologies.
Standard 2: Knows the location of places, geographic features, and patterns of the environment.
Standard 12: Understands the patterns of human settlement and their causes.
Standard 17: Understands how geography is used to interpret the past.
Common Core Writing Standards
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.7 Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources; assess the credibility of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and providing basic bibliographic information for sources.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6.9 Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Students enter a toybox of Ancient Egypt. If the sides could close, students could carry this toybox with them to build, craft, and play! The toybox contains all the elements students need to interact with this ancient culture and learn more about its geography, economy, governing structure, and culture. Through these five lessons, students will participate in both digital and physical activities to engage in rich learning experiences following the learning objectives and guiding questions. Egypt Toybox is structured and broken into five lessons over 3 weeks x 60 minutes per day
Guiding Question Lesson 2 of 5
When creating, is it simpler to build or to destroy?
Preparation and materials
Begin this lesson by passing out sugar cubes (or other cubes) to each group of students, and ask them to build a pyramid. Talk about the planning involved in making the pyramid stable. Ask the students to orient their pyramid to true north and allow them to use a compass (most mobile phones have this ability) or other device for this purpose.
Students enter the Egypt world and fly to the edge of one of the great pyramids. They are greeted by NPC Shabaka.
Shabaka says, “Our people used a large workforce to build these architectural marvels as tombs to our great kings, or Pharoahs... Read more about how the pyramids were built and then try building your own.”
Button on the NPC takes students to the following site: Building the pyramids.
Give students time to read the article; engage in a discussion asking why building a pyramid would have been so difficult. Next, ask students to think about the difference between creating by adding to a structure (building) and creating by removing from a structure (carving). Ask for some examples of things they know that are carved.
Give students the Jell-o molds and carving tools. Ask students to carve a particular topic of interest in your class (a superhero, a favorite sport, a face of a famous person). Give them time and prepare to get messy! Consider cleaning tables and desks after the lesson with shaving cream and paper towels.
Enter the Minecraft world and fly to the base of the Sphinx. Students are greeted by NPC Kosey.
Kosey says, "The Great Sphinx of Giza is the world’s largest monolith statue, carved out of limestone, about 4500 years ago. This work is surrounded in mystery! Read more about its background."
Button on the NPC takes students to the following site: The Great Sphinx
Give students time to read the article and create a Mind Map showing a comparison between how the pyramids were built and how the Sphinx was built. Engage in a discussion about whether it seems easier to create from scratch (build) or carve from existing material.
Students then have the option to build a new pyramid in Minecraft using Code Builder, or carve a monument in Minecraft by destroying. The challenge in the carving activity is that (using the honor system!) students can only destroy, and can never add materials - even if they sever a nose!
Build a pyramid challenge: To use Code Builder in Minecraft, students should press C (on their keyboards) or press the Agent icon (iPad). Choose MakeCode. Use block-based code commands to program the agent to build a pyramid out of blocks or sand. If students are new to coding, consider using the built-in tutorials to get started.
Carve a monument challenge: Use a fill command to create a structure of sand blocks that is 25 blocks high, 25 blocks deep, and 25 blocks wide. To do this, press / then type fill 154 34 41 179 54 16 Sandstone and press enter. Students then only destroy blocks to carve their monument. Consider having students draw their design on graph paper before beginning.
Students understand the ancient culture's access to building materials and processes (science).
Students write a compare/contrast essay about the pyramids and the Sphinx, covering why and how they were built.
4 - Student demonstrates deeper understanding of concepts showing the differences between the building of the pyramids and the building of the Sphinx.
3 - Student shows understanding of the similarities and differences between the building of the pyramids and the building of the Sphinx.
2 - Student shows limited understanding of the similarities and differences between the building of the pyramids and the building of the Sphinx.
1 - Student does not demonstrate understanding of the similarities and differences between the building of the pyramids and the building of the Sphinx.
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