Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ancient Egypt: books and projects

This week we have been learning about Ancient Egypt, inspired by our friend Theo in New York, who was learning about them from a book. 

We were also inspired by Theo to use some tracing paper to draw maps, and the gods and goddesses. The tracing paper has become quite popular around Sesat School, and everyone has been tracing just about everything. 

We learned to do hieroglyphics, and wrote some words (some in Finnish, such as "aurinko" - sun, and "hevonen" - horse), some of our names, and Xylitol, which may have been the official artificial sweetener of the Ancient Egyptian Gods: 

We made clay figures of Anubis, the jackal-headed god, and Bastet the cat-headed goddess. We made the pharaoh's crooked heqa-scepter and one of the girls made the longer was-scepter that was carried by both pharaohs and deities

All of the kids chose a god or goddess, and learned about their particular sphere of influence. Ma'at, the goddess of Truth; Bastet, who makes plants grow; Tawaret the pregnant hippopotamus, protector of mothers and babies; and Ra, the sun god, who is born each morning and lives his life out crossing the sky. He is also the god of revenge. 

Here are their tracings:

We also studied the Egyptian Book of the Dead and were intrigued by the weighing of the heart scene. Anubis weighs Ani's heart while he and his wife Tutu watch anxiously to see if his sins weigh more than Ma'at's ostrich feather. This spurred a discussion about being righteous vs being mean, and remarks on the concept of the afterlife.

E & E visited the Egypt exhibit at the Met with Jyri and we are teaming up with other homeschoolers for a trip to the Rosicrucian Egypt museum in San Jose soon.

We also watched the first hour of Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison (as Julius Caesar), and after the first half hour, one of the girls said, exasperated, "Are there going to be any girls in this movie?". We also watched a documentary on pyramids and mummies.

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