This study of Ancient Egypt looks at two aspects of Ancient Egyptian civilisation – religion, and pyramids – and asks pupils to consider the ongoing significance of Ancient Egyptian influence. They will learn a wealth of factual detail – about the process of mummification and about the Rosetta stone, for example – and begin to assess the Ancient Egyptians against a set of criteria for judging historical significance. After placing the Ancient Egyptians geographically on a map, and temporarily on a timeline, the enquiry starts by studying Egyptian religion, in many ways the aspect of Egyptian life that drove everything else that pupils will study in this unit. The first few films will introduce them to the main Egyptian gods and tell some stories about them. Pupils then learn about mummification – the reasons for it and the process of doing it. The second part of the enquiry looks to the pyramids. Pupils will learn about the designing and building of them, and start to consider their ongoing importance in the world today.
The enquiry ends with a brief study of hieroglyphics, and then turns to the big question of the significance of Ancient Egypt. This unit is a companion unit to that of the Ancient Greeks, asking the same question of each. Whilst each can be done without the other – neither makes a mention of the other during the lessons as written here – a useful comparison could be made after teaching both. Pupils could be asked which civilisation has left behind the most, probably noting that whilst the Pyramids are still impressive, the Greeks gave us a system of government and the Olympic games. On the other hand, people are still living and farming along the Nile, some of them using irrigation methods established in Ancient Egyptian times.
On that note, this unit could lead into some Geography work on the Nile. An enquiry question like ‘Why have people lived along the River Nile for 5,000 years?’, combines the subjects and does something genuinely multi-disciplinary.