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Sunset in the Egyptian Desert

Imagine standing in the Egyptian desert at sunset. Ahead of you are the magnificent Egyptian pyramids. Capture your dreams by creating a desert scene.

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

    1. Look at books such as Builders on the Desert: Stone Craftsmen of Ancient Egypt by Janet H. Dunning Van Duyn or Egypt in Pictures by Jeffrey Zuehlke. Invite students to research information and look carefully at pictures of the Egyptian desert and pyramids.
    2. On paper, students use Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils and their imaginations to sketch what they think the Egyptian desert looks like at various times of the day or night. Choose one time of day to represent in a painting.
    3. Students cover their work area with recycled newspaper. On construction paper, create sky and desert with layers of Crayola Tempera Paint. For a sunset, suggest the use of shades of blue and purple for sky and shades of gold and brown for the desert floor. Mix colors with white to get lighter shades. Add yellow, gold, or even purple for shadows. Air-dry paintings overnight.
    4. During the next painting session, students brush the desert floor with Crayola Texture It! Tempera Mixing Medium. This creates a rough, sandy effect. Air-dry the painting. One additional coat can be added is so desired.
    5. Students use Crayola Washable Markers to draw desert shapes such as pyramids, camels, or palm trees on sponges, recycled foam trays, or corrugated cardboard. Cut out the shapes with Crayola Scissors. Paint the tops and edges. Air-dry the sponges.
    6. Attach the 3-D shapes to desert backgrounds with Crayola School Glue. Cover any sandy shapes with mixing medium. Air-dry paintings.
    7. On paper, sketch other animals or people one might see in the desert. Paint them and air-dry the paint. Cut them out and glue them to the scene.
    8. To create a finished look, glue each painting to a larger piece of construction paper or cardboard to create a frame. Display work with other projects and information about Egypt.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

    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: 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: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

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

    VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.

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

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

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Everything Kids' Mummies, Pharaohs, and Pyramids Puzzle and Activity Book: Discover the mysterious secrets of Ancient Egypt by Beth L. Blair; National Geographic Kids Everything Ancient Egypt by Crispin Boyer; DK Eyewitness Books: Ancient Egypt by George Hart

    Encourage students to create a second artwork that reflects Egypt in another part of the day.

    Students investigate deserts in other parts of the world. Students create a scene from the self-selected desert. Include appropriate plant life and animals.

    Students research other aspects of Ancient Egyptian life such as hieroglyphs, scribes, pharaohs, etc. Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.


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