Year 3 Explore Ancient Egypt – Autumn 2 2019

On Wednesday 11th December, Year 3 had a visitor from Portals to the Past to consolidate our learning about the Ancient Egyptians and the remarkable events in their history. The visitor brought lots of resources with him which enabled us to visualise and use some of the objects in the same way as the Egyptians! The children dressed as they wished in relation to the Ancient Egyptians. We had many Egyptologists, Pharaohs, servants and even some mummies and a god! The children were able to talk about their costume amulets, such as the eye of Horus for good luck and golden jewellery to signify wealth.

Firstly, we began the day by talking about the geography of Egypt and the changes over time to it’s parts and it’s rulers. We had learnt how to identify key features of a locality by using a map and discussed famous landmarks in Egypt, but our visitor taught us about the reasons for their appearance and introduction due to some of the ideas from Pharaohs over time, like the Pyramids and the Valley of the kings. The children showed off some of their learning by describing the place and events that they had already learnt about using geographical language.

We applied the skill of researching from the given information boards and learnt some facts about many things, including why Gods and Goddesses were so important but are no longer worshipped in the same way.  Use of our previous internet searches for information, the things we found out on the information boards and from our visitor helped the children to come to the conclusion that Cleopatra’s love stories played a large part in the demise of the Egyptian rule. It was interesting for the children to consider how invasions from other cultures, such as the Persians and the Greeks, had an influence on their faith and that once the land became Roman led, the land became Christian, then later Muslim and Egyptians ceased to worship their old gods and goddesses. We also learnt about the influence of some of these invasions on the language used, such as the word “pyramis” which translates to “wheat cake” as the pyramids reminded them of the shape of their wheat cakes with a pointed top.

We were shown lots of objects and applied the skill of deducing and answering questions about the purpose of the artefacts and the photographs; the children were able to give plausible explanations about what they thought the objects were for by considering the clues given e.g. A small pot used to hold kohl, an earring stud and versions of alabaster pottery.

We knew that Ancient Egyptians played board games and so it was exciting to play a game that would have been played by children in Ancient Egypt called ‘Jackals’. The children were able to apply their historical understanding skills to discuss similarities to games developed and played today, like snakes and ladders! We were told that some of the games had markings for which the instruction was unknown so some of the children were able to suggest inventive game rules to do with these markings.

In the afternoon, we took part in and watched a role-played version of the life and death of a pharaoh, including his mummification! We watched the process that we had learnt and discussed the job roles of different people that would have been employed in the process. In class we had already carried this out on a tomato before the day, but watching this on a life size dummy allowed us to really visualise the process and consider the significance of this event in their culture on history.

Finally, we played a game of hounds versus jackals. The objective of which was to aim for the animals that would have been present in Ancient Egypt. Each animal had different points for their temperaments and importance in Ancient Egyptian life.

Quotes from the children about the day –

Leo “I liked it because I like watching and listening to all the things we have learnt about the past”.

Bailey “I like Egyptian day because it’s very fun as we get to dress up and play real life board games like the Egyptians”.

Lexi “I enjoyed being able to research extra information about Tutankhamun”.