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Home Hieroglyphics

Egyptian hieroglyphics are an ancient language. Design a cartouche with a message! Hang it on a doorknob to display.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Egyptian hieroglyphics are one of the first written languages known. Students study Egyptian hieroglyphics from cartouches (oval figures on ancient monuments) in books listed here or others from the school or local library.
    2. Students create a cartouche-shaped door-knob sign for themselves or as a gift. What word or words would be on the sign? The sign shown here says "keep out."
    3. Students translate their word(s) into hieroglyphics, using a key found in their hieroglyphics resources. Carefully copy the characters with a Crayola® Colored Pencil. Remember, hieroglyphic characters are written vertically, from top to bottom.
    4. Knead a ball of white Crayola Model Magic into an oval slab, similar to the cartouches on which hieroglyphics have been found.
    5. Use the point of a light Crayola Colored Pencil to press the hieroglyphics that into the cartouche. Press deeply, so your symbols indent well into the surface.
    6. Create a curved loop for hanging on a door with Crayola Model Magic. Attach it to the back of the cartouche with Crayola School Glue. Dry.
    7. Cover the art area with recycled newspaper. Paint just the indented characters with black Crayola Washable Tempera and a paintbrush. Wipe away any black paint from the higher surface around the symbols with a damp paper towel.
    8. Paint the higher, surrounding surface with a contrasting color. Dry at least 24 hours before hanging.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs by James Rumford; The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle: Solving a Mystery of Ancient Egypt by Claudia Logan; The Shipwrecked Sailor: An Egyptian Tale with Hieroglyphs by Tamara Bower;

    Few people in Ancient Egyptian society were able to read or write. Students investigate the life and education of an Egyptian scribe. What purpose did these people have in the society? What tools did they use in their profession? How was this group of people perceived by others in the Egyptian society?

    Encourage students to investigate other aspects of Ancient Egypt that made it an advanced society. Possible topics to explore are that building of the pyramids, mummification, farming in a desert, etc. Students organize their research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.

    Students write a hieroglyphic note to a friend.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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