Monday, September 23, 2013

Ancient Egypt Unit Study

The breadth of this unit study lasted close to three weeks, so I will try to remember everything we did!


We learned about the geography of Egypt and created a simple map. We learned that the Nile River flows northward and splits off into a delta.

Painting the Red Sea

Painting Egypt

Finished piece


We learned about many different ancient Egyptian gods, and Aidyn created his own god: a half-tiger, half-man god.

We learned all about pyramids and what was stored in them.

For fun, we read Who's Your Mummy? by R.L. Stine

And Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile by Tomie dePaola

And the hilarious Skippy Jon Jones in Mummy Trouble by Judy Schachner.

Aidyn also learned to read some Egyptian words.

Hands-on Learning/Art:

We made hieroglyph stamps using potatoes. 

We read about how the early Mesopotamians  made cuneiform tablets while the Egyptians made papyrus. We made both to see which was easier to make and which was most durable.

Mixing the batter for cuneiform tablets.

Rolling out the dough.

Carving messages.

Then we baked the tablets to harden them.

We read about ancient Egyptians who used reed to make papyrus. Without reed around, we substituted with strips of paper.
Dipping the paper strip in the flour-and-water mixture.

Laying the strips evenly.

He loved dunking his fingers in the goo.

Afterward we smashed blueberries to make blueberry ink.

I don't have pictures, but we waited for the papyrus to dry and wrote on it using the blueberry ink. The writing was very light at first, but once it dried it was a solid blue-red color. We noted that the papyrus seemed pretty fragile and the coloring could easily be washed away if it water got on it. Cuneiform tablets, though heavier and harder to make, were much more resistant to destruction.

We also constructed our own Nile River. We put dirt in a large pan and divided it down the middle for the river. We lay aluminum foil on the bottom and used rocks to keep it down.

We planted grass seeds along the banks, and Aidyn flooded the Nile.
Again, no pictures, but now our Nile has grass sprouted on either side of it!

World Religions/Mythologies

We read about Osiris and many other Egyptian gods. We also watched some Christian mythologies, The Prince of Egypt and Joseph, King of Dreams.

Prince of Egypt trailer

Joseph, King of Dreams trailer

He watched them both a few times and absolutely loved The Prince of Egypt.

(Gross) Science Experiment:

We peeled and carved seven apples to represent mummies and set them in different variations of preservatives to see which would last the longest. We got busy around this time, so the poor apple-heads were sitting pretty for two weeks.

Isn't he gorgeous?

Not so bad.

He's seen better days.

He was our most eligible apple--a 50/50 mix of epsom salt and table salt did wonders for his skin.

Speaks for itself.

Overall, this was a pretty gross but entertaining (and educational!) little experiment. (excuse the boxes in the background; we're in the process of moving.)

We had a blast learning about ancient Egypt!

We just started a Kindness Project unit study, so check back to see what we do!


  1. How fun! I love the apple experiment.
    I remember the Nile experiment I did once w/ my son similar to what you did. We recreated the Nile in a baby pool outside, planted birdseed along the river (which was also constructed of tin foil), watered the Nile and let it overflow over the banks. After a few days, we got grass shoots along the river. It was a lot of fun.

  2. What a great unit study - I love the half man half tiger God!

  3. Thank you! We had a lot of fun with this unit study. :)