- Social Structure
- Arts and architecture
- Agriculture and food
There was also a separate group for Ancient Hebrews that ended up mostly presenting the story of Exodus through their interactive exhibits. I found this highly problematic to include Exodus as an element of actual Egyptian history, but this is a topic of a separate post.
Last, but not the least, each museum came with a cafe and a gift shop. As I said, the project was very ambitious.
What Worked Well?
Kids loved making their interactive exhibits and were very creative. As you can see from the lead picture, Smarty's group (Arts and Architecture) had a giant pyramid. Technology groups went all out with clever projects including various automations, a working water wheel track, chariot races, etc. Religion group had a human size sarcophagus decked in gold foil. One boy wanted to do his own project about surgery in ancient Egypt and designed a great game where players needed to connect a description of a surgical tool to its model or a picture to have a light come up for correct answers. Almost all of these projects were completed in school Makers' Lab with our Maker teacher providing minimal guidance. He joked that kids went through 5 pounds of hot glue in a week building their exhibits.
What Could Be Improved?
Obviously, the other challenge in the project of this scale was group work. Smarty's group was struggling with finding their direction and with having a joint vision for the final result. One of her team members was so upset at some point that he threatened to quit. The sphinx that they planned to build never materialized (except its head), as did several other exhibits that they initially planned. While Smarty firmly rejected any offers of help or guidance from us insisting that it's "her project", we felt that teachers could probably have offered a bit more pointers on group work. But, perhaps, this was part of the learning experience - struggling to reconcile different points of view together. Smarty thinks that "she did the best with what she had". I beg to differ, but, after all, she and other students had a lot of fun with this project while also learning about ancient Egypt. I am sure that they will remember their project a lot better than any written report or a presentation that they could have done, and this is ultimately what project based learning is all about.
What kind of big projects did your kids work on lately?
Books About Ancient Egypt
Here are some books about ancient Egypt your upper elementary students or middle school students might enjoy: