Egyptian History and Experiential Learning in Fifth Grade

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn”                                                                                                     ~ Benjamin Franklin

English Class fifth graders have been learning about the earliest civilizations in their history lessons. Experiential learning has been the backbone of their exploration of ancient Egyptian history. The pupils learned about the most important gods and goddesses among the thousands of deities that the Egyptians worshiped by creating colourful, informative posters of them.

Among many, many other things the fifth graders learned that some images of Ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses were depicted  with a human body and the head of a bird or an animal. Animals were chosen to represent the particular powers of the god or goddess.

While creating their posters pupils also learned about the unique style of painting used by Ancient Egyptians.  Each of the gods or goddesses had his or her own specific color, and that included clothing, as well as their skin. They mostly used the colors black, blue, red, green, and gold in their paintings. The god Anubis, for example, had his jackal head painted black, because he was the god of the dead. The heads had to be painted in profile but the shoulders and both arms were painted facing front. Feet were painted facing the same direction as the head, as was the style then.

The fifth graders also explored the importance of cleanliness and appearance in Ancient Egypt. They learned that men and women alike used cosmetics, wigs, jewellery, perfumes and clothing to groom themselves. Whether rich or poor, Ancient Egyptians wore amulets, necklaces, collars, bracelets, armlets, earrings, finger-rings and pins.

In addition to making themselves look beautiful and important, wearing jewellery was considered to be one way to keep the gods happy. Jewellery also provided various forms of protection against evil and brought the wearer good luck.

The upper classes used precious and semi-precious gems and metals like gold and silver for their jewellery. People without money used glass, copper and wood instead. Below are some of the English Class fifth graders modelling their Ancient Egyptian ornaments.

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