Use hieroglyphics to write your favorite things on this paper pyramid.
Click the photo to view or print the pattern and instructions for the pyramid craft.
THE FIRST CIVILIZATIONS
Sometimes when you see something that is historically hysterical, it makes you want to know the real story. It was Steve Martin’s ridiculous “King Tut” song that got me interested in the Boy King and his condo made of “stone-ah.” It turned out King Tutankhamen wasn’t even an important king, just young and his tomb had been untouched by robbers, so it was an amazing find for archeologists. Most of the pyramid tombs had been pillaged, so it was impossible to know what they originally looked like inside.
In the Victorian era, there was a renewed interest in ancient Egypt. Back then, rich people had mummy unwrapping parties. Mummies were also ground into dust and sold as medicine. It’s hard to wrap my head around what these people were thinking. Can you imagine rubbing mummy dust on your skin or watching someone unwrap a dead human? Weird!
In 1986, the Bangles released the song, “Walk Like an Egyptian.” It’s a great song, but sometimes, I hate that I know it, because I sing it every time I read about or work on anything that has to do with ancient Egypt. It makes it had to concentrate on the real information. Also, it’s another song that makes this amazing culture that thrived for centuries, seem like a strange cartoon. But if you present a unit on ancient Egypt, you HAVE to play the song for your students. The goofy lyrics won’t teach them anything, but it’s just too much fun!
And while that ancient African civilization was writing in hieroglyphics and building giant pyramids, the Mesopotamians (modern-day Iraq) were writing in cuneiform and building giant ziggurats. If you need a song to inspire an interest in this civilization there is a goofy one called, “Mesopotamians” by They Might Be Giants. Again, you will learn nothing (except the names of 4 rulers), but it’s fun and catchy. Here’s a link to the YouTube video: THE MESOPOTAMIANS BY THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS
This time period is a favorite for elementary students.
TOP 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE FIRST CIVILIZATIONS
#10 CIVILIZATION – A civilization is a society that is large and complex. It has culture, science, industry, and government. The four earliest civilizations developed along major rivers.
#9 INDUS VALLEY & HUENG HE – This Indus Valley civilization was located in Pakistan and northwest India, on the Indus River. It had streets and plumbing.
Nothing remains of the Hueng He civilization by the Yellow River in China. We know of it through Chinese legends that have been passed on for generations.
#8 EGYPTIANS – This civilization grew along the Nile River in north Africa.
#7 MESOPOTAMIA – The cradle of civilization. The first civilization was located in modern day Iraq between the Tigress and Euphrates Rivers.
#6 GODS AND GODDESSES The early civilizations had mythologies that included both gods and goddesses.
#5 PHONECIAN BOATS WITH SAILS – Travel by sea became possible when lighter-weight boats with sails were constructed.
#4 HORSE DRAWN CHARIOTS – Chariots pulled by horses made longer journeys possible.
#3 BRONZE TOOLS – “The Bronze Age” Bronze is made by mixing molten copper and tin. Bronze was used for tools, weapons, and jewelry.
#2 GIANT TEMPLES – Pyramids were burial tombs in ancient Egypt. The Pyramid of Khufu is one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Ziggurats were temples built by the Mesopotamians. They were huge trapezoid-shaped buildings made of sun-dried bricks. A ziggurat was constructed in the center of each major city.
#1 WRITING WAS INVENTED – Hieroglyphics and cuneiform were two early forms of picture writing. Our alphabet come from the ancient Phoenician alphabet, a phonetic system of writing. Writing gives us a record of what occurred in these ancient civilizations. They didn’t write textbooks about their history, but their writing (once scholars figured out how to read it) gave us clues as to what their lives were like. Before the “Age of Writing,” we have only artwork and artifacts to help us understand what humans were doing and thinking.
Here are two crafts that will give your students a fun way to examine two different styles of writing.
Make The PERSONAL PYRAMID CRAFT. Click the link to view or print the PDF.
In the “Age of Writing” most of the writing was done on clay. This project will give your students an idea of what it’s like to print on clay.
Phoenician Name Bracelet
You’ll need modeling clay that can be baked in the oven, aluminum foil, toothpick, gold paint, a paintbrush.
- Find a sample of the Phoenician alphabet. There are several versions online. Print a copy for your students to use a reference.
- Give each student one section of clay. (Modeling clay comes in 4 sections.)
- Press and stretch the section into a ½” X 6” flat strip.
- Use a toothpick as a writing stick to press the letters of your name into the clay.
- Wrap the clay around your wrist to form an oval-shaped bracelet. Set the bracelet on the aluminum foil.
- Bake as directed.
- When the bracelets have cooled, paint over them with gold acrylic paint.
Click the link to go to the FIRST CIVILIZATIONS page of my website for FREE activities or to purchase the unit.