Year 3 Autumn 2023 Ancient Egyptian Day

On Monday 18th September, Year 3 had a visitor from Portals to the Past to develop our understanding of Ancient Egyptian. The visitor brought many resources with him that enabled us to visualise and use some of the objects in the same way as the Egyptians!

Firstly, the whole year group had an introductory talk about Ancient Egyptians and their everyday life. We discovered how Lower and Upper Egypt were united and all about the demise of Cleopatra – the last Pharoah and how the Romans conquered the territory.

Afterwards, we had a number of activities (artefacts, quiz boards and Ancient Egyptian game) that each group explored throughout the morning.

From the exploration of the artefacts, the children discovered how enormous the ear piercings were for Ancient Egyptians and the stone decorative studs that they wore, as well as the make-up palettes and the reason the Egyptians wore black make up under their eyes – Ancient Egyptian’s answer to sunglasses!

The children were able to give plausible explanations about what they thought the objects were for by considering the clues given e.g. A make-up palette for mixing make up on, a small pot used to hold kohl, amulets and versions of alabaster pottery.

From the quiz boards we learnt about everyday life; the pyramids and how Cleopatra’s relationships caused the demise of Egyptian rule. We applied the skill of researching from the information boards and learnt some facts about many things, including why Gods and Goddesses were so important, but no longer worshipped in the same way. The things we found out on the information boards and from our visitor helped the children to conclude that Cleopatra’s love stories played a significant part in the demise of the Egyptian rule. It was interesting for the children to consider how invasions from other cultures, such as the Persians and the Greeks, had an influence on their faith and that once the land became Roman led, the land became Christian, then later Muslim and Egyptians ceased to worship their old gods and goddesses. We also learnt about the influence of some of these invasions on the language used, such as the word “pyramis” which translates to “wheat cake” as the pyramids reminded them of the shape of their wheat cakes with a pointed top.

By playing the game ‘Hounds and Jackals’, the children brought alive the fun and excitement from the Ancient Egyptian period as this was a popular game, played in the poorest and the wealthiest households of the time.

The children were able to apply their historical understanding skills and discuss similarities to games developed and played today, like snakes and ladders! They were pleased and unhappy in turns about the snake and ladder on the board (the black curvy lines that you can see in the photo).

In the afternoon, we took part in and watched a role-played version of the life and death of a pharaoh, including his mummification! We watched the process that we had learnt and discussed the job roles of different people that were employed in the process. Watching this on a life size dummy allowed us to really visualise the process and consider the significance of this event in their culture on history.

Finally, we played a game of Hounds Versus Jackals. The objective of which was to aim for the animals that would have been present in Ancient Egypt. Each animal had different points for their temperaments and importance in Ancient Egyptian life.