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Learning About Egypt: A First Grade Lesson Plan

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Carly Stockwell • updated: 9/9/2013

What’s inside a pyramid? Where is the world’s longest river? Do the children in Egypt have to go to school? Find out these things and more in this lesson about Egypt.

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    In today’s news Egypt is mentioned a lot for the unrest and turmoil within the country. However there are many wonderful things to learn about this diverse country. It’s important for students to learn about the differences and more importantly the similarities between them and the Egyptians.

    Objectives:

    1. Recognize that civilizations in the Americas had similar characteristics to the Egyptians. SS01-S02-C02-03

    2. Recognize that the development of farming allowed groups of people to settle in one place and develop into civilizations (i.e., Mesopotamia, Egypt). SS01-S02-C02-01

    3. Use primary source materials (e.g., photos, artifacts, maps) to study people and events from the past. SS01-S02-C01-03

    Materials:

    • World Globe
    • Map of United States and Egypt
    • 4"x 6" plain white index cards
    • Worksheet (download to print)
    • Materials to build individual pyramids: legos (students can bring in their own), clay or play dough. See the recipe below. Make it the color of the pyramids!
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    Procedure Day One:

    Say, “Today we are going to begin talking about a country that is far away from where we live. First of all, can someone tell us in what country we live?" Then use the globe to show the distance from our country to Egypt.

    Say, “The country we are going to learn about is Egypt. What large body of water do we cross to get to Egypt?" Use the globe to find out.

    Say, “Egypt is part of a very large continent called Africa. You can see on the globe that one side of Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea and another side borders the Red Sea"

    Say, “ Also Egypt has the longest river in the world! It is called the Nile River and it is longer than the distance from South Carolina to California!" Move your finger across the mainland United States on the globe.

    Next read the book Countries of the World: Egypt by Kathleen W. Deady. This is a book that you may choose to read completely or you may just read parts that are appropriate for your students. The photos are important to support the information.

    After you read, discussion questions could be:

    1. If you wanted to live in Egypt, where would the best place be to live? Draw out information about the differences between the hot deserts, rugged mountains and the good farmland by the Nile River. Did the early settlers live in places by the water when they came to the United States? Show the map of the United States and point to the large cities. They are located by a water source.

    2. Why were the pyramids built? What was placed inside them?

    3. How is the life there the same as ours? How is it different? Discuss schools, clothing, food, etc.

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    Procedure Day Two:

    Review the information from the last lesson. Then read and discuss the book Egypt in Colors by Nathan Olson, which highlights information and landmarks found in Egypt.

    Activity:

    Use the 4"x6" index card to make a postcard. The students should illustrate the front with a scene from something in Egypt. (Pyramids, Nile River, types of dwellings, the flag, animals, clothing, etc.) On the reverse side the student should pretend to write to someone and tell the person about the picture. For example, “Dear Mom, This is a pyramid. It is in Egypt and is very big."

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    Procedure Day Three:

    Read sections of the book You Wouldn’t Want to be a Pyramid Builder! By Jacqueline Morley

    Allow time for the students to use play dough, clay or building blocks to create a pyramid. What special things would they put inside? Make it a writing assignment!

    Final Review:

    As a class do the printable worksheet together.

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    Making Play Dough:

    Ingredients:

    • 3 cups flour
    • 1.5 cups salt 6 tsp.
    • cream of tarter
    • 3 tbsp. oil
    • 3 cups water
    • Food coloring of your choice

    Pour all ingredients into a large pot. Stir constantly over medium heat until a dough ball forms by pulling away from the sides. Knead dough until the texture matches play dough (1-2 minutes). Store in plastic container. Should last for at least 3 months.

References

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