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Magnificent Sphinx & Pyramid

Egyptian pyramids were built as stairs for kings to climb after their death. A sphinx was built to guard the pyramids. Create realistic replicas of these famous structures!

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

    1. Organize students into small groups. Provide groups with resources and teacher approved Internet web sites focused on Ancient Egypt, the pyramids, and other well known Egyptian landmarks. Students organize their research into a presentation to share their learning with classmates.
    2. Once presentations are complete, invite students to make a replica of a pyramid. Begin this process by having work areas covered with recycled newspaper. Provide each student with a softball-size piece of clay. Press it on a paper plate to make the bottom flat. Leaving a point on the top, slice away four sides of the ball at angles to form a pyramid. The pyramids have crumbled, so the sides don’t need to be smooth. With a toothpick, students score the pyramid to look like it’s made out of limestone blocks. Air-dry the pyramid for several days.
    3. On a produce tray or other palette, students mix Crayola Texture It! Tempera Mixing Medium and yellow Tempera Paint and paint their pyramids with a brush. Air-dry the paint. Add another coat of Texture It! Experiment to create a rougher, weathered look.
    4. Egyptians made the sphinx with a lion’s body and a ruler’s head. Some anthropologists think this represents the pharaoh’s great strength. To make a replica sphinx body, students knead a handful of clay into the shape of a hot dog roll. Roll a ball for the head and press on the body. With fingers pinch a nose, mold a triangle shape head, and poke holes into the head for eyes. Make two thick rolls for front legs and paws. Press them on the body. Score toes with a toothpick or plastic knife. Make lengthwise lines in the side of the sculpture to create steps. Air-dry the sphinx for several days.
    5. Students mix orange and yellow paint with equal amounts of Texture It! for an Egyptian look. Paint sphinx models. Air-dry the paint. To create a golden glow, cover the sphinx models with Crayola Pearl It! Tempera Mixing Medium combined with gold Crayola Premier™ Tempera.
    6. Ask students to write a journal entry focused on their new learning on Ancient Egypt. What would it have been like to live then? How did the Egyptians get those pyramids built? If the sphinx was built in contemporary times, what materials would be used and how would it differ from the Great Sphinx of Gisa?
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grade level text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    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.

    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: A Kid's Guide to Ancient Egypt: An eBook Just for Kids by ekids; Secrets Of The Sphinx by James Cross Giblin; The Secret of the Sphinx by Geronimo Stilton; How The Sphinx Got To The Museum by Jessie Hartland; Mummies, Pyramids, and Pharaohs: A Book About Ancient Egypt by Gail Gibbons

    Students investigate one of the well-known pyramids or sphinx from Ancient Egypt. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.

    The limestone blocks used to build the pyramids of Ancient Egypt weighed up to fifteen tons. All of the existing pyramids were built using levers and muscle power. Each pyramid took twenty years to build. Student groups compare how these structures were built with the way monuments and buildings are built today.

    Students research what happened to the Great Pyramids and their contents.

    Another famous structure, The Great Wall of China, was built without machines. Research how it was made, what materials were used, and how long it took. Make a replica of a portion of the Wall in a similar manner.

    Students groups investigate a contemporary monument such as the Washington Monument, the Eiffel Tower, or the Status of Liberty. Make a chart organizing various building heights and building details.


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  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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