Books We Are Using This Year
  • The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    by Jeff West,S. Wise Bauer,Jeff (ILT) West, Susan Wise Bauer
  • Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    by Bernard J Nebel PhD
  • Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    by Steven P. Demme
  • First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    by -Author-
  • Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    by Mona Brookes
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Entries in egypt (4)


Egypt's Middle Kingdom (SOTW ch. 12)

Returning to ancient Egypt, we've now added the invasion of Nubia to our timeline, and the invasion by the Hyksos. Otherwise the Middle Kingdom is kind of a wash, and so were the recommended extra books. All of them dealt with Egypt in general, no specific information from the Middle Kingdom. Of course we loved the coloring book, and Calvin also greatly enjoyed Green's Tales of Ancient Egypt.

Life in Ancient Egypt: A Coloring Book (Dover, 1989). We are very fond of the Dover coloring books, which pair detailed line drawings with short but informative paragraphs about the subject.

Rimonah of the Flashing Sword: A North African Tale (Eric Kimmel, 1995). A retelling of the Snow White fairy tale with middle eastern characters and a hint of middle eastern legends sprinkled in. I love what Kimmel has done with the heroin, making her a stronger character, but I don't find it to have a strong link to ancient Egypt at all.

Temple Cat (Andrew Clements, 2001). A cat is worshipped locally in a village and treated as a pharaoh, but that's no life for a cat. Always doted upon and never allowed to do "cat" things, he eventually runs away to find happiness with a family somewhere else. The beautiful illustrations really make this book, otherwise the story is kind of bland.

Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (Henry Barker, 1999). A very simple listing and description of the gods and goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Great for early readers.

Tales of Ancient Egpt (Roger Lancelyn Green, 2011). This is an enjoyable collection of myths and legends based on the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt. Not all of the stories included are traditionally Egyptian, though.


Ancient Civilzations: Egypt (resource list)

Ancient Egypt, from ~3000 bce to ~1000 bce, the beginning of the Old Kingdom to the end of the New Kingdom (April-May 2012)

Topics of focus:
Timeline of Ancient Egypt and its Kingdoms
Names and dates of some pharaohs
Architectural contributions
Mythology and religious beliefs
Writing and hieroglyphs

Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, by Henry Barker (fun list with pictures, easy reader)
The Egyptians (Crafts from the Past)
Encyclopedia Mythologica Gods and Heroes (Sabuda, a beautiful pop-up book, not just Egyptian)
Gods of Ancient Egypt (Dover Coloring Book, fun coloring plus great information)
I am the Mummy Heb-Nefert, by Eve Bunting (beautiful story and illustrations)
Life in Ancient Egypt (Dover Coloring Book, fun coloring with great information)
Ms. Frizzle's Adventures in Ancient Egypt (Magic School Bus)
Mummies and Pyramids (Magic Tree House Fact Tracker)
Mummies in the Morning (Magic Tree House)
Mummies Made in Egypt, by Aliki (wonderful children's book on the mummification process)
Pharaoh's Boat, by David Weitzman (wonderful picture book)
Senefer: A Young Genius in Old Egypt, by Beatrice Lumpkin (loved this, and it's also a living math book)
Tutankhamun (Usborne)

Web and other technology:
Ancient Egypt for Kids (web reading)
Britannica for Kids: Ancient Egypt (iPad app)
Explore Ancient Egypt (the British Museum online)
Explore Ancient Egypt (the Children's University of Manchester online)

Videos online:
The Egyptian Creation Myth (from The Big Myth, on youtube)
History of Egypt Part I (Stephen Shifflet via neok12 online)

Videos via Netflix or Amazon:
Building Pharaoh's Ship (Nova via Amazon)
Egypt: Engineering an Empire (The History Channel via Netflix, this was our favorite)
Empires: Egypt's Golden Empire (PBS via Netflix)

Crafts and activities:
Africa and the Middle East puzzle (GeoPuzzle)
Making a book of the dead
Draw like an Egyptian
Making a pyramid out of Legos
Keeping a weather chart comparing weather here to weather in Egypt
Making an Egyptian feast (recipes)
Making a mummy and mummy case (clay and paper mache)




Saturday's Artist—The Book of the Dead

We are finishing our exploration of Africa with a stop in Egypt, and though we started in modern Egypt curiosity has taken us back in time to the ancients. I think it will be a short stay for us right now—my concerns over timing on the death issue (as I mentioned here and a little here) will probably return us to the modern in a day or two—but we've done much just the same. I love exploring myth cultures so while building the pyramids we also read about the beliefs of their creators and inhabitants. Calvin finds the myth stories fascinating, and why wouldn't he? They are the building blocks of culture and society, and they read like fairy tales. The only down side is the prevalence of violence, but it's not like the brothers Grimm did any better.

Back to the art. To go with our pyramids this week Calvin decided it was important to create a copy of the Book of the Dead. I suggested a paper bag for the paper, to give it an older feel and look, and Calvin decided on colored pencils for his medium.

A few weeks ago, at the Border's closing sale, we luckily picked up a set of hieroglyphics stamps that came in handy here.

He used a book to copy pictures of Osiris, Isis, Horus, and the scales that weigh one's heart against a feather for admittance to the Field of Reeds.

He originally intended to create three copies of the scroll, one for each pyramid as it was the custom to bury (rich) people each with their own, but so far he has finished just this one over a two day period. I left everything out for him so we'll see if he goes back and creates more, or if we will leave the dead behind and return to the living, and camels, and sand. This morning I found him reading a book on archeology, so maybe he's actually finding that important link between the two worlds.

Come join, or at least visit, the parade of art linked to Saturday's Artist at Ordinary Life Magic.


Lego pyramids

What can't we do with Legos? We already have a Kenyan city, near the trees of Wangari and the snows of Mt. Kenya, and a train that carries visitors south to Victoria Falls, and now we have the Pyramids of Giza. All three. Creating Pyramids doesn't really require a lot of "how-to" but here's how we did anyway.

We started with a flat sheet and built a base that was 28x2 on all sides. For each subsequent layer we stepped in one row. In order to make it usable for play he needed to be able to reach the inside so we left a doorway by not finishing one wall, and we also made the tip removable. No sooner had we finished the first pyramid than he mentioned the need for three pyramids if indeed this was to be Giza. That took a bit more doing, since we were running of materials, but we managed it. The only thing we couldn't do was make the tip easily removable, since we were out of the smooth thin pieces, but the other two pyramids are smaller (as they are in Giza, mind you), and that step wasn't as necessary.

Appropriately we happen to have one mummy, one pharaoh, one safari explorer, and two explorer pilots in our minifigure collection. The camels, however, were our own creation. Don't laugh.

To make the tip removeable we stabilized it with two platform pieces, then limited the point at which it snaps in place to just one side by using thin smooth strips on three of the sides and just one dimpled strip on the fourth side.