Ancient Egypt Lesson Plan: Introduction to Traditions and History

Submitted by: Rachel Zindler

Grade Levels: 3-5, K-3

In this multi-day lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades K-5, students use BrainPOP Jr. resources to explore basic knowledge of Ancient Egyptian traditions. Students will also become familiar with the historical period of Ancient Egypt and work in small groups to complete several different activities related to Ancient Egypt.
 
Note – This series of activities is not designed to be taught in a single day. It is best to spread it out over the course of a week or two, depending on your schedule. This is also meant to be part of a larger study on Ancient Egypt, and should be considered a supplement to a unit, not a complete unit in itself.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Gain basic knowledge of Ancient Egyptian traditions.
  2. Become familiar with the historical period of Ancient Egypt.
  3. Work in small groups to complete several different activities.

Materials:

  • Computer(s)
  • Access to BrainPOP Jr.
  • Interactive Whiteboard (optional)
  • Project the Talk About It KWL chart onto an interactive whiteboard, or create your own KWL chart
  • Print or project the Belly Up comic
  • Print (enough for the whole class) or setup computers with the Quiz (only a ¼ of the class will need computers at the same time for this)
  • A blank timeline spanning from approximately 3500 BC to the present day

Vocabulary:

pharaoh; papyrus; ruins; artifact; hieroglyphics

Preparation:

Log on to BrainPOP Jr. and preview the Ancient Egypt movie. Read all related features, including the Lesson Ideas for adults. Print up suggested materials and set up computer and interactive whiteboard if you plan to use one. Create a simple timeline on the blackboard or make one from a sentence strip or other long paper. Borrow as many books from the library on Ancient Egypt as possible to have in your classroom for student reference. You can find some great books to get you started in the Read About It feature.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. As an introduction to the BrainPOP Jr. movie on Ancient Egypt, hand out copies or project the Belly Up cartoon. Ask volunteers to read the characters' speech bubbles to the class and then have them turn and talk about the comic strip. What do they think a pharaoh is? Why is the comic funny or not? Ask the students if they know where pharaohs lived? Tell the class they will be studying Ancient Egypt, where pharaohs lived thousands of years ago.
  2. Print, project onto the whiteboard, or make your own KWL chart from the Talk About It feature. Ask students what they know about Ancient Egypt already. They may bring up Mummies, King Tut, or the Pyramids. Ask them to elaborate as much as possible on any of the topics and fill in the first column of the chart (What do you know about Ancient Egypt?) as they discuss. Then ask them about what they'd like to know as you fill in the second column (What do you want to know about Ancient Egypt?). Save the KWL chart for later discussion.)
  3. Show your class the timeline you created and ask them to add familiar dates. Most dates will be related to their lives and the history they may have already studied. Ask the class to figure out how far back 100 years would be on the timeline. Then ask them to figure out how far back 1000 years would be. 2000 years? Mark the year 0 on the timeline. Then mark the year 3150 BCE (be sure to maintain correct scale to give students an understanding of how long ago it was). Tell your class that that was when Ancient Egyptian civilization began. Some students may be able to do the math to figure out that it was about 5000 years ago! Tell them to listen as they watch the movie to find out when the civilization ended.
  4. Tell students that you will be screening the Ancient Egypt movie twice. They will have a chance to listen and watch the first time and the second time they will pause and discuss the movie. Remember that you can turn on the closed captions to show a larger version of the movie and support students who learn best when reading (click the button marked cc underneath Annie’s notebook). Pause at various points for discussion when screening the movie the second time. These are good opportunities to prompt students to turn and talk about new concepts as they arise. For example, you may want to ask students if what they knew about pyramids, King Tut, or other concepts they added to the KWL chart were correct.
  5. Afterwards, project the Word Wall feature and ask students to review the vocabulary. After clicking each of the words and displaying the definitions, you may want to reverse the activity and see if students can remember the vocabulary words based on the definitions. If you’re using an interactive whiteboard, students can come up and sketch or jot down definitions in their own words. You can also print up copies of the Word Wall sheet and have students work independently or in pairs to complete them.
  6. Set up 4 stations in the classroom. Students can rotate through the stations over the course of one day (if you have a large block or time) or throughout a week.

    STATION 1: Students take the online or printed quiz. Students can differentiate for themselves by choosing the Hard Quiz or the Easy Quiz, or they can take both quizzes.

    STATION 2: Students can do the Write About It feature, either online or on paper.

    STATION 3: Students try to figure out the secret hieroglyphic message using the Activity page.

    STATION 4: Students can begin by drawing an artifact or ruin on the Draw About It feature and then print out their creations and label them. Then they can play the Game.
  7. After all students have rotated through the each of the four stations gather the class together and have students share what they've learned.
  8. Finally, guide a class discussion to complete the KWL chart from the Talk About It feature, to list what students have learned about Ancient Egypt. If you used an interactive whiteboard to start the KWL chart you can print up copies of the incomplete version and have students fill in the final column on their own as a form of assessment.

Extension Activity:

This BrainPOP Jr. movie provides a good introduction to Ancient Egypt, but there’s tons more to learn about this rich culture! Be sure to give students opportunities to research Ancient Egyptian civilization in more depth. You may want to capitalize on the groups you created to have students work together to read and report on individual gods, various occupations in Egyptian society (nobility, priests and priestesses, merchants, musicians, farmers, slaves etc.), important landmarks, artifacts, or specific pharaohs and their periods of rule. It’s also fun to have students research and then write and act out skits about the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.