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Three Elementary School Art Activities: Egypt, Hieroglyphs, and Portraits

written by: KellenKautzman • edited by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas • updated: 3/2/2012

These art activities for elementary students are a great way to study Egyptian culture, learn about hieroglyphs, and create an ancient Egyptian style portrait. Get your students working with hands-on projects to better incorporate what they've learned in class.

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    Objectives

    AmmutPapyrus This article provides three art activities to help students learn about ancient Egypt. They can be done all together for one lesson or individually to supplement another lesson. Students will paint ancient Egyptian portraits. They will paint the word "ART" in hieroglyphs into their portrait. They will place Egypt on the map and discuss ancient Egyptian culture and art. If they finish early they will have the opportunity to draw and paint the pyramids.

    See if they can find Egypt on a map. Ask them what language they believe Egyptians speak now (Answer: Arabic). Ask about the color pallet that is seen in the Egyptian landscape. Ask them what colors are typically seen in the desert. Show them pictures in this article (they are copywrite free) of Hieroglyphs and explain this form of writing through pictures to them. Tell them that they will be painting their own Egyptian portrait with hieroglyphs.

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    The Egyptian Side Profile

    Milkau Der heilige Baum von Heliopolis mit Thot und Seschet 15-2 Provide your students with a clear Egyptian side profile, like the one the left, projected so everyone can see very clearly. At this time allow your students to sketch with pencil on paper you provide. Let them know that they will also be required to place the hieroglyphs spelling the word "ART" (found below) in their painting somewhere. You should continue to project images of Egyptian side portraits or have them sketch one another. When students have finished with the sketch and are ready to work on their finished project have them come to you. Review their work before giving them paint supplies.

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    Spell "ART" in hierglyphics!

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    The Pyramids (extra Credit)

    All Gizah Pyramids 

    When they finish with the portrait, and it passes your standards, they are allowed to begin to sketch the pyramids. If you have discussed shading and light source you can refresh their memory for the pyramids sketch. If not you could transition into another lesson in which you talk about the origin of light and how that affects the shade around the object. The pyramids are a nice way to focus on this concept, as they are geometrically simple. It's up to you whether or not you want to transition the pyramids sketch into a full blown painting project. The pyramid lesson can also easily transition into a 3D clay modeling lesson.

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    Wrapping Up

    Egypt Make sure to have your students share their work with one another and feature the artists somewhere in the school. You can ask the homeroom teachers if they are doing a geography or History lesson that has to do with Egypt. If so, you can collaborate with them and touch on some of the points that the home room teacher is making or has made.

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    References

    All Images taken from wikimedia commons

    Egypt-Hieroglyphs 

    Hieroglyph 1 / Luesting / http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/75937.aspx

    Hieroglyph 2 / Kpjas / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AmmutPapyrus.jpg

    Hieroglyph 3 / Gabbe / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Egypt-Hieroglyphs.jpg

    Egypt / Mark Dingemanse / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lake_Nasser_location.png

    Pyramids / Ricardo Liberato / http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:All_Gizah_Pyramids-3.jpg