Three Suggestions for School Projects on Egypt: Hieroglyphics, Papyrus, and Art

Three Suggestions for School Projects on Egypt: Hieroglyphics, Papyrus, and Art
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Create Your Own Hieroglyph

Egyptians used hieroglyphs to write or tell stories. Each hieroglyphic symbol stood for a sound, phrase or expression. The writing symbolized phonetic sounds. If you have to do an ancient Egypt school project, what better way to increase your knowledge of this country than trying your hand at writing your own hieroglyph? Use this ancient technique to learning about their written language and immerse yourself in the Egyptian culture. Learn a little about how the ancients did it long ago!

To get started you will need to research the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbols and alphabet. There are lots of great online research resources. Start off by searching for background information on hieroglyphs for a better understanding of how they were used and what they stood for. You can also find a chart of the phonetic alphabet and symbols by doing a little research–there’s a great hieroglyphic worksheet at Scholastic Ltd. Further investigation on the Internet can lead you to other charts and interpretations of these symbols; not everybody agrees on what all the symbols mean.

Next, choose symbols such as the Egyptian alphabet hieroglyphics or a handful of word symbols (logograms) to recreate and write, making sure to detail what the translation is to our language today. You could also choose to create your own cartouche, which is a special container for hieroglyphs symbolizing a specific person’s name, such as a pharaoh. Take your creativity and knowledge to the next level by making an original cartouche representing your own name based on the symbols you’ve learned about.

Make Your Own Papyrus

Ever wonder how the Egyptians made their own paper? Here’s your chance to learn and create a replica of the paper this ancient culture used thousands of years ago. Papyrus is made from the stem of the papyrus plant’s inner pith which is cut in strips and soaked. After this process the strips are layered and pressed, pounded or rubbed firmly together to form a thick paper.

You can find kits online fairly inexpensively which come with the supplies you will need to make papyrus. Rainbow Resource Center sells kits for under $10. Another possibility, as the papyrus plant is not readily available to most, is to create your own modified version of papyrus using the same techniques as the ancients, but with supplies more abundant in your area. Instead of strips of papyrus consider using strips of reeds or even paper. Then, weave them together in layers, soak them in water, press or pound the layers together and allow them to dry completely.

Research the different ways in which the ancients used the papyrus plant for other products. Learn what types of things papyrus paper was used for, how long it lasted and any problems they may have had with it, such as molding and how they dealt with it. Write a report about how to make papyrus.

You will come away with the knowledge of how the ancient Egyptians made paper and an appreciation of the time and effort they put into their work.

Make Your Own Egyptian Art

Egyptian Papyrus

Express yourself and your creativity by making an original work of art based on the ways of the ancient Egyptians. Your school project on Egypt will stand out as unique, interesting and knowledgeable when you apply your understanding of their use of color to your work.

Egyptians typically used minerals or berries to color their drawings. They mainly used six colors–red, blue, green, black, white and yellow. A good place to start is by researching what each color symbolized to the Egyptians and what minerals they used to achieve said colors (although you won’t be able to actually use them for this project).

After you gain a little awareness of what colors meant to the Egyptians, you can render your own artistic interpretation following the ancient color traditions and symbolism.

To make this art even more authentic, consider using papyrus as your artistic canvas.