We've been immersing ourselves in Ancient Egypt this week. We finished out sailing trip up the Nile in our felucca, which students are writing about in a 3-paragraph letter that is due on Monday. We also studied some maps of ancient settlements while asking ourselves the question: how did geography and climate affect where ancient peoples settled? This plays right into the overall question for our project, How does climate affect human societies and how do human societies affect climate? We made a map of Nile settlements (Egypt and Kush) with our actual bodies (the seas were kids sitting and waving arms as waves, the Nile river was a line of kids laying down, etc.), and we drew maps of Michigan and talked about why people in Michigan settled where they did.
We then read about different social classes in Ancient Egypt. We started the lesson by talking about social classes at Summers-Knoll and building a social pyramid to represent them. We actually made two different pyramids, one with the students at the top, because students are the main reason a school exists, and one with students at the bottom and the principal at the top, because the principal has more power in decision-making. We compared this social pyramid to one describing the social classes in Ancient Egypt, where the Pharoah had all the power, and peasants were the largest group with the least amount of power. We also studied artisans, priests, government officials, and scribes. Students worked in small groups to act out a day in the life of people in their social class.
We also got just a tiny bit started on our final project piece, the broadcast news assignment, by talking in our groups about how we are going to structure our performances. We will get to focus more on the content of those performances next week.