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Introduction to Ancient Egypt

Last Updated: Sep-06-2010

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Developed By

  Kelly Paul
Stacey Shild

Lesson Title

  Introduction to Ancient Egypt

Length of Lesson

  2 - 60 minute sessions

Lesson Unit

  Social Studies - Ancient Egypt




  Social Studies



Michigan Content Expectations

  W1.1.1, W1.2.1, W2.1.2, G1.2.1, G4.3.2


  Nile River, delta, fertile valley, irrigation systems


  • K-W-L chart (student copy and classroom poster)
  • Sticky notes
  • Pencil/pen
  • Student copies: "Saba The Farmer" (play/story) & "Map of Egypt"
  • Colored pencils
  • Atlas/laptop



This lesson is an introduction to a unit on Ancient Egypt. This lesson provides background knowledge on the ancient civilization of Egypt and sets the stage for the rest of the unit regarding the people and how they used their land and available resources in order to survive.


Big Idea(s)


Students will learn and analyze ancient civilizations to locate evidence of cultural, physical, and human characteristics.  They will learn through literature how the Egyptians adapted to their environment in order for their society to flourish.


Essential Questions


1. What knowledge did the Egyptians have about the world that enabled them to survive?

2. How and why did the Egyptians adapt to their physical environment (surroundings)?

3. Why was the Nile River such a valuable source for the Egyptians? 

4. How did the Nile affect the location of the settlement of Egyptian society?


Learning Objectives


Students will...

  • Understand the extensive knowledge of the Egyptians about the seasons based on the sun and climate changes.
  • Learn the importance of the Nile River and how it afffected the location of the people.
  • Learn how the Egyptians used their available resources and how they adpated to their environment in order to survive (irrigation, flooding of the Nile, harvesting crops, etc...)

Summative Assessment


Show your understanding of the Egyptians' farming rituals based on their knowledge about the seasons, the sun and climate changes.  Include the importance of the Nile River to the people and how it afffected the location of their settlement.  Represent how the Egyptians used their available resources and how they adpated to their environment in order to survive including irrigation, flooding of the Nile, planting crops, harvesting crops, etc...

Students may represent the information in the form of a brochure, student created play/skit, Power Point presentation, newspaper, or PhotoStory.


Resource(s) available for this section

Lesson Opening


Engage students interest in Ancient Egypt by showing video clip from Teacher Tube. http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=5e81cb99c1fe7acff4a0

Today you are going to "walk like an Egyptian!"

After viewing the video, students will work with a partner to discuss something they already know about ancient Egyptian people, life, etc... and something they want to know (K-W-L chart).   Students can write their ideas on a sticky note, place their note in the appropriate space on the class chart, and do a gallery walk to view other students' ideas.


Lesson Opening Co-teaching Plan


Same as above....

Both teachers will walk around the class as students are discussing ideas and join/add to their discussions to encourage more participation and help students who may be experiencing some difficulty getting started.




Hand out story/play to students and explain that they will read the play keeping in mind a few of the essential questions (tell them to students).  Students can read the play in their assigned groups and each student can take a part. 


Exploration Co-teaching Plan


Both teachers will join a group or walk around to observe/assist students in reading the play and understanding the vocabulary presented in the play.


Check for Understanding


Give one or more comprehension questions to each group to discuss and then share their thoughts/ideas with the class.


Ex. questions - 

1.  Why does Egypt have such fertile soil?  (flooding of the Nile)

2.  Name at least three tools used in farming or irrigation by the Egyptians? (plow, shovel, sickel, Nilometer, shaduf)

3. Describe the Egyptian irrigation system?

4.  Name at least three gifts of the Nile. (fertile soil, water, papyrus, food crops, transportation, trade, flax for clothing and other items, fish, etc...)

5.  Why does the Nile flood and how does it affect every aspect of the Egyptian people?


Check for Understanding Co-teaching Plan


Both teachers will assist students in their understanding and help interpret /rephrase the questions to guide their learning.




Have students respond to the comprehension questions and allow groups to share their discussions.   Show students an online map of Egypt to see how the the population is skewed and the location of the Nile in response to the farmers. 




Explanation Co-teaching Plan


As one teacher explains the map and the location of people, the importance of the Nile, etc while the other clarifys when necessary.


Extended Practice


Students will complete/label the map using an atlas or online map noting the key features: important cities, Upper/Lower Egypt, and the listed geographical features. 





Students can complete the last section of the K-W-L chart after finishing the unit including at least five details that they learned about Ancient Egypt.   Students can toss the ball to share with classmates.

Students can also share their final projects.



Closing Co-teach Plan


Both teachers assist in explanation.