Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ideas for an Egypt study using Tapestry of Grace

Let's take a journey to Ancient Egypt!  This unit was PHENOMENAL!

We did Egyptian Scale Drawings the first week.  Just take any Egyptian clip art (we used the inexpensive Dover coloring book on Ancient Egypt and also some free clip art on Google Images--just be sure to search under "line drawings" or else you'll get photographs and things that are hard for the kids to copy).  Take a ruler and draw lines equal widths and heights apart so that you create your own graph paper on a blank sheet.  Then, using the same dimensions, draw these grids OVER the printed clip art.  Make sure your image is enlarged enough, so that the kids are able to see clearly what's inside each square.  Then, show them how the Egyptians were able to carve and paint such large-scale drawings on monuments and tombs using this technique. 

Help them get started by showing them how to copy what's in each square and then how to connect the surrounding squares.  It's a great history lesson, but also a good workshop in the concept of "scale".  Here are some drawings the boys did.....

Another project suggested by TOG is Egyptian Reed Boats.  It is featured in the book "Make it Work!  Egypt", which you can probably find in your local library.  We used some dried grass that we found at the city ball field.  It was just growing wild.  You need something that will be firm (not green) but also a little bit bend-y for when you pull the ends up and tie them.  The kids made several small bundles, then they tied them together into one big bundle.  The ends are then roped to the body of the boat, creating an upturned effect.  You can use small dowel rods for the oars and balsa wood pieces (we had some scraps of leather) to make the paddles. 
This book is suggested for the "Grammar" levels, but I wanted to keep it for the middle-school years.  It has some great projects that we just didn't get to.  That's the beauty of TOG-- we'll be back here in 4 more years!

Now, for their favorite project in Egypt.....Mummifying Barbies!

We've seen instructions on mummifying chickens and other "once-living" creatures, but wanted something we could keep until the grandparents were able to visit.  Something that wouldn't rot and fill the house with the odor of chicken carcass. We found a Barbie and a G.I. Joe at the local Goodwill and gave them a most educational transformation!

Use inexpensive muslin and rip it into strips.  If it's too difficult to rip, simply cut it.
Then brew some strong black tea (3 or 4 teabags) and let the strips sit in the tea for a good while.

Remove muslin strips from tea and let them dry for several hours or overnight.

Say goodbye to the dearly departed.  They will never look like this again.

Remove their clothes and try not to look.

We used foil to give them more of a solid form.  You don't have to deal with protruding arms and legs in the wrapping process.

Start wrapping and tucking the strips.  If they don't stay put, use a little transparent tape.

Voila!  A mummy! 

Looking back, we could have taken this to the next level by adding kosher salt (to represent natron) and some cinnamon to represent the spices they used in mummification.  You can even get fancy and fashion a sarcophagus for your mummy!  There are so many neat ideas for Egypt--go crazy!


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