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North Africa Lesson

Updated on December 8, 2016
Children carved their names in hieroglyphics in clay to make cartouches.
Children carved their names in hieroglyphics in clay to make cartouches.

This is part 1 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa. This week's focus is North Africa. Dramatize the mummification process, carve clay cartouches, eat a Tuareg-style meal, make Moroccan Khobz, hold a Moroccan Berber fantasia and more! My lessons are geared toward 4th-5th grade level children and their siblings. These are lessons I created to do with a weekly homeschool co-op. We meet each week for 2 1/2 hours and have 33 children between the ages of 1-13. Use these fun lessons with your class, family, after school program, camp, or homeschool co-op!

Do you hope to visit the pyramids someday?

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Mixing the dough - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison who participates in our class: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleHarrisonPhotography
Mixing the dough - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison who participates in our class: https://www.facebook.com/MichelleHarrisonPhotography

Introduction & Begin Making Moroccan Khobz

1. Opening: Pray & Introductions.

2. Begin making Moroccan Khobz. We will divide into 6 groups with 5 children in each group. Each instructor will lead their group in making the below recipe. Children (not instructors) will complete all the steps. Instructors will be there to tell children what to do and will also make sure everyone in the group gets a turn dumping in ingredients and stirring.

MATERIALS: ***You will need 1 set of these for each group of 5-6 children.*** 1 small mixing bowl or 2 cup liquid measuring cup, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 mixing spoon (preferably wooden), 1 rubber scraper, 1 cup measuring cup, measuring spoons, a rectangular baking sheet, a kitchen towel, a mat for rolling out dough or sheet of wax paper or parchment paper, & bread ingredients: 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 tablespoon yeast, 4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, additional flour for kneading, non-stick cooking spray for the pan

  • Prep time: 20 min
  • Cook time: 1 hour 40 min
  • Ready in: 2 hours
  • Yields: 2 large or 4 small round loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • additional flour for kneading
  • non-stick cooking spray for the pan

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl combine sugar, yeast, and warm water and let sit for about 5 minutes. In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Make a large well in the center of the flour mixture. Then mix in the yeast mixture and the oil. Let each child mix the dough a few times. Give each child a sheet of wax paper covered with flour. Divide the dough equally among the children. Allow children to knead their portion of dough for a few minutes. If necessary, add flour or water 1 tablespoon at a time to make the dough soft and pliable, but not sticky. Have the children each shape their portion into smooth circular mounds. Place the dough onto baking sheets that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, and cover them with a towel. Let rise for about 1 hour.
  2. ***Continue with activities.***
  3. Preheat the oven to 435°F. Score the top of the bread with a very sharp knife to form a large X, or poke the dough with a fork in several places. Bake the bread for about 15 minutes - rotate the pans about halfway through the baking time - or until the loaves are nicely colored and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer the bread to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool.
  4. (Recipe is based on http://moroccanfood.about.com/od/breadandrice/r/White_Bread.htm .)
Cast your vote for Moroccan Khobz

***If you have 18 or more children, divide them into 3 groups and have each group rotate between the 3 stations: Geographical Features of North America + Egypt and the Bible, Cartouches, and the Mummification Process. If you have a smaller group of children, you can simply go through the activities in order.***

Station 1: Geographical Features of North Africa

3-1. Discuss the geography of Northern Africa and the role of Egypt in the Bible:

a. Ask the children what they know about Africa. Have each child at least say 1 thing.

b. Have children pull out their atlases or maps of Africa. Discuss what children notice. Point out Sahara Desert and ask children what they know about deserts. Give each child a chance to respond. Have the children find Egypt on the map.

c. Ask them who they can think of in the Bible who went to Egypt. (Abraham, Hagar, Joseph, Moses, Jesus, and many others)

d. Flip through the pictures in “The Gold Book Children’s Bible” to quickly summarize how God used Joseph to bring the Israelites to Egypt, they were there 400 years and enslaved, and then God sent Moses to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt.

e. Read “The Princess and the Baby” about Moses in Egypt.

f. Mention that after Jesus returned to heaven, Mark (the one who wrote the Gospel of Mark) brought the Gospel to Egypt. Egypt was a Christian nation in the 300’s but was invaded and overtaken by Arab Muslims in 639, and it has remained a predominantly Muslim nation ever since.

g. If you have extra time, flip through a book on ancient Egypt and discuss the pictures. I used "We're Sailing Down the Nile" by Laurie Krebs.

MATERIALS: world atlases or maps (brought by families) and books on Egypt: "The Children's Bible" by Golden Books, “The Princess and the Baby” by Arch Books (or other picture book version of this story), and “We're Sailing Down the Nile" by Laurie Krebs

Book to use for 3-1. g. Good book on modern Egypt (that includes some history)

We're Sailing Down the Nile
We're Sailing Down the Nile

This picture book does a great job of highlighting the most famous sites of Egypt.

 
Clay Cartouch - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison,  who participates in our class
Clay Cartouch - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Station 2: Clay Cartouches

3-2. Have the children create clay cartouches:

(Prep: Ahead of time lay out 10 sheets of wax paper on the table. Place a golf-ball sized scoop of self-hardening clay on each sheet of wax paper. You don’t need to roll the clay into a neat ball. Repeat this process again during the rotation process before each new group comes.)

a. Quickly discuss clay cartouches. (Find info on them at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cartouche .) If you have a cell phone that can pull up photos, show some pictures to the children. In the simplest terms, they displayed the names of a king and were placed in tombs kind of like a gravestone.

b. Give each child a small ball of clay. Have them roll it into a ball and then flatten it into a rectangle. Then have children use a toothpick to engrave their name onto a clay cartouche using hieroglyphics, which can be found at http://www.quizland.com/hiero.htm . (If a child has a particularly long name, give them some extra clay.)

c. As children work on their cartouches, use a sharpie marker to write their names on their sheets of wax paper.

c. If you have extra time, you can flip through a book on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

MATERIALS: self-hardening clay (enough to have 30 golf-ball-sized balls), a spoon or other object to use to scoop out the clay, 30 sheets of wax paper (each sheet at least 6”x9”), 30 toothpicks, sharpie marker, hieroglyphic alphabet sheets brought by families, & a book on ancient Egypt brought by Shannon

Canonic Jars - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison,  who participates in our class
Canonic Jars - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Station 3: Mummification Process Description

3-3. Quickly discuss pyramids and mummies. Compare Egyptian beliefs after the afterlife to what the Bible teaches. Dramatize mummification process:

  • Have children sit in a circle.
  • Quickly discuss pyramids and mummies by flipping through some of “Mummies Made in Egypt” by Aliki (a book brought by Shannon).
  • Ask the children which organ they think is the most important. The Egyptians thought the brain was a useless organ, so they removed it by poking a stick up the nose of the deceased and have the brain drain out. (Pass around a clothes wire hanger.)
  • Then they removed the other organs (lungs, stomach, intestines, & liver) and placed them individually in canonic jars. These needed to be preserved for the afterlife.(Pass around a homemade version of a canonic jar).
  • They thought the heart was the most important organ, so they removed it and weighed it. Ask, “Would a heart always weigh more than a feather?” If the heart weighed more than a feather, then the person was deemed good. They then put the heart back inside the dead person’s body because they believed the heart was kind of like a person’s soul. (Pass around a feather.)
  • (Hold up a container of salt). Ask, “What is this used for?” Next the person’s body was placed in a natron bath and/or their insides were packed with natron (now that the organs had been removed.) Natron is kind of like a mixture of salt and baking soda. There was plenty of it found along the Nile River. It helped to remove the water from the body so that the body wouldn’t decay. (Pass around a container of salt.)
  • Ask, “Who’s ever smelled a piece of uncooked meat or chicken fat that’s been sitting in the trash can for more than a day? How does it smell?” (If you have it, pass around a Ziploc bag that is holding a piece of chicken fat or raw meat that has been sitting out for more than a day.) If they hadn’t used the natron bath, the body of the deceased would have started smelling like this pretty quickly.
  • After 40 days, the body would have significantly less moisture. If the person had originally weighed 160 pounds (about the size of your dad), they would now only weigh 60 pounds (about how much you weigh)! They still might stink a bit, though. They removed the body from the naton bath. Sometimes they removed the natron and filled the insides with strips of linen and sawdust since the inside of the body would be was kind of empty since all the organs were gone. They would clean the body and add good-smelling spices like cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh, and other items. Frankincense and myrrh are used to make perfume. (Pass around a container of cinnamon and a bottle of scented lotion.)
  • If the person was rich, like a pharaoh, the priests might lay individual gold “cups” over each finger and toe. (Take a small sheet of aluminum foil and wrap it around one of your fingers and then pull your finger out, keeping the aluminum foil “mold” in the shape of your finger.) It would kind of be like this aluminum foil, but it would be made from real gold. (Pass around the aluminum foil that was molded over your finger.)
  • Then they started wrapping up the body in strips of linen. (Pass around a piece of clothing made of linen and/or sports wrap.) They carefully wrapped each individual body part. They wrapped the thumb a few times, and then the index finger, and then the middle finger, and so on. Occasionally they would add amulets, which were like lucky charms or idols that they thought would protect the body.(Pass around small animal figurines or toys.) They continued this until they covered the entire body in at least a few layers of linen. They used about 20 pounds of linen on 1 body!
  • Finally, they would add a mask that was like a portrait that had been painted to look like the person’s face. The Egyptians believed that after a dead person’s soul journeyed through the afterlife, they came back to look for their body. If they couldn’t recognize their body, the wandering soul didn’t get to return to the body. That’s why they believed they needed to preserve the body and place a face mask over it.
  • Ask, “What do you like to do at parties?” A few hundred years ago, some rich people would hold mummy unwrapping parties. They would buy a mummy from Egypt. All the guests got to take turns unwrapping some of the mummy. If they unwrapped an amulet, they got to keep it. The amulets were like party favors. Does that sound like something you would like to do at a party?

MATERIALS: a wire clothes hanger that has been unwrapped or cut so that it is a straight line, a homemade version of a canonic jar (I used a flower vase painted gold and placed a stuffed animal inside so that the animal head would stick out), a feather, a container of salt, a Ziploc bag that is holding a piece of chicken fat or raw meat that has been sitting out for more than a day (optional), a container of cinnamon, scented lotion, a piece of clothing made of linen and/or sports wrap, & a couple small animal figurines or small toy animals

Book to use for 3-3 describing the mummification process.

Mummies Made in Egypt (Reading Rainbow Books)
Mummies Made in Egypt (Reading Rainbow Books)

My family read through MANY books on the mummification process, and this was our favorite!

 
Toilet Paper Mummification Race - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison,  who participates in our class
Toilet Paper Mummification Race - Photo taken by Michelle Harrison, who participates in our class

Review of Ancient Egypt Stations & Dramatizing the Mummification Process

***Have children come back together into one large group.***

4. Quickly review what we learned about ancient Egypt and the Sahara Desert:

a. Have each child say one thing they learned about Ancient Egypt.

b. Ask children to compare Egyptian beliefs about the afterlife to what the Bible teaches about what will happen after we die.

c. Allow children to move on to the next activity. Meanwhile, an instructor should go into the kitchen and begin preheating the oven to 435 to bake the bread.

5. Ask the children what the Ancient Egyptians are most famous for. Hopefully someone will say, “mummies.” We are going to now dramatize the mummification process. Divide the children into groups of 3 or 4. Hand each group a roll of toilet paper. Have each group wrap up 1 person in their group as a mummy. The first team to wrap up the entire person from head to toes wins.

MATERIALS: 1 roll of toilet paper per group (brought by families)

Joke #1: How do we know they played tennis in ancient Egypt?

The Bible says that Joseph served in Pharaoh’s court!

Tuaregs & Veils

6. Quickly look at pictures from a book or your laptop & discuss Tuaregs (twah regs), nomads who live in the Sahara Desert. (Find out some background info by reading this wikipedia article .)

MATERIALS: books or laptop to show pictures of Tuaregs


***Divide children into boys and girls.***

Boys: Tuaregs & Veils

7a. Boys A1: Go outside. Have boys use a scarf to cover their faces with a veil like Tuareg men do. All Tuareg (twah reg) men wear a veil called a tagilmus that leaves only a narrow opening for their eyes. The veil may be any color, but it is usually indigo (blue) cotton strip about 10 feet long and 6 inches wide. As a man puts on the veil he first winds the cloth around his head several times leaving a small opening at the crown and letting one edge cover his eyebrows as a sun visor. Then he winds it around the lower part of his face below the eyes loose enough to reach under to his mouth. Once a man at about 15 starts wearing a veil, he never takes it off, not even at home with his family and not even when he eats, though he will lower it to eat and drink. Ask, “Why do you think men would wear a veil?”(Answer: to keep the sand from blowing in his face, to keep the sun from burning his face, and to hide his identity – since tuaregs used to frequently be thieves and murderers) Ask for 1 boy to volunteer to tell the girls that Tuareg men cover their faces with blue veils and why.

*Tip: We tied the scarf by first putting them around their heads with a “ponytail” in the back. We twisted up the “pony tail” and then crossed it in front of their faces below their eyes and tucked it in the other side of their faces near their ear. (Find out some background info by reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuareg_people .)

MATERIALS: scarves (brought by families)


Boys: Tuareg Tents

7b. Boys A2: Set up tents:

a. You will still be outside. Divide boys into 6 groups. Have each group set up a pop-up tent.

b. Give them each 5 “mats” to put in their tent.

c. Discuss how Tuaregs are nomads who live in the Sahara Desert. In order to provide food for their goats and camels, they must travel around the desert since plants are scarce. They live in tents. A Tuareg tent is made of goat’s skins dyed red and measures 10 feet deep and 15 feet wide. Pegged down on 3 sides, the roof is supported by a wooden frame and slopes toward the back. In the back is where all family possessions are kept in leather bags of all sizes. The woman’s belongings are on the left side of the tent & the man’s belongings such as rifles, ammunition, and saddles are on the right side of the tent. A wall of matting, which is made up of thin, woven reeds and about 3 feet tall, circles the inside of the tent and extends outside the entrance of the tent, forming a patio. The mats are decorated with fringe and painted geometrics. Mats are on the floor and the servants sweep them and shake them out several times a day to rid them of scorpions.

d. If desired, show the children photos of the tents using your cell phone: http://www.travelblog.org/Photos/2406766 & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuareg_people .

e. If the girls haven’t arrived yet, remind the boys that the Tuaregs are nomads, so they have to travel around the desert so their goats and camels can get food. Have the boys collect the mats, close up their tents, move them to another location, set up the tent again, and place the mats in the tents again.

f. Ask for 1 boy to volunteer to tell the girls that Tuaregs are nomads, which means they live in tents and roam around from place to place in the deserts so that their goats and camels can get food.

g. You, the instructor, can secretly toss in a few toy scorpions onto the mats if you have some toy scorpions available.

MATERIALS: toy scorpions (optional) and 6 pop-up tents (or use bed sheets and chairs or poles like broom handles) & 30 mats (both brought by families)

Girls: Tuareg-Style Meal Preparations

7c. Girls: While boys work outside, have the girls work in the kitchen to prepare a Tuareg-style meal of millet/couscous, dried dates, goat cheese, and goat milk. Sanitize the girls’ hands. Divide girls into 3 groups:

Girls: Group 1: Couscous

i. Group 1 will prepare 3 boxes of couscous according to the package directions. Allow girls to dump water into the saucepan. While you wait for the water to boil mention that couscous is made of tiny grains of dough rolled from barley or millet. Millet is the Tuareg’s staple food, which means that’s what they eat the most. Have girls dump in the couscous and salt. When the couscous is ready, divide it among 4-5 trays. Ask for one girl to volunteer to be the speaker in the group. After you get outside, she will tell everyone that this is couscous, which is made of tiny balls of dough, and is staple or main food item that Tuaregs eat.

MATERIALS: 3 boxes of couscous, large saucepan, measuring cup, measuring spoon for salt, salt, & mixing spoon

Girls: Group 2: Goat’s Milk

ii. Group 2 (oldest girls) will pour the goat’s milk. Have the girls pour a small amount of goat’s milk into 29 small cups and place the cups on 6 sturdy disposable plates. Tuaregs drink goat milk or camel milk. Ask, “Why wouldn’t they drink cow’s milk?” (Tuaregs live in the desert where there is little water and grass. Cows require too much grass. Since Tuaregs live in a desert, they have animals like goats and camels which can tolerate the desert heat and conditions.) Ask for one girl to volunteer to be the speaker in the group. After you get outside, she will tell everyone that this is goat’s milk and that Tuaregs drink goat or camel milk rather than cow’s milk because they live in the desert and where there isn’t enough grass to feed cows.

MATERIALS: goat’s milk, 30 small cups (like Dixie bathroom cups), & 6 sturdy disposable plates

Girls: Group 3: Dates & Goat Cheese

iii. Group 3: (Youngest girls) Have the girls sprinkle dried dates and goat’s cheese around the outside of 6 plates. Have them place 5 plastic spoons on each food platter. Tell them that dates are a type of fruit that can grow in the desert. The dates that we are putting on the plates are dried dates, just like raisins are dried grapes. Say, “While many Northern Africans eat with their fingers, Tuaregs use wooden spoons to eat their food. We’ll pretend the plastic spoons are made of wood.” Ask for one girl to volunteer to be the speaker in the group. After you get outside, she will tell everyone that these are dates and goat cheese and that Tuaregs really eat with wooden spoons (not plastic ones), so we’ll have to just pretend our spoons are made from wood. When the couscous is ready, the Group 1 girls will divide up the couscous into the middle of each plate.

MATERIALS: 2 boxes of dried diced (not whole) dates, goat’s cheese, 6 sturdy disposable plates, & 30 plastic spoons

***After all the food items have been prepared, have the girls carefully carry out the plates to the boys outside. Moms should assist to ensure nothing falls.***

The dough after it has risen for about an hour.
The dough after it has risen for about an hour.

Bake Bread

8. *While children go outside* begin baking the Moroccan Khobz. You will do this without the assistance of the children. The oven should be preheated to 435°F. Score the top of the bread with a very sharp knife to form a large X. Bake the bread for about 15-20 minutes – rotate the pans about halfway through the baking time – or until the loaves are nicely colored and sound hollow when tapped. Transfer the bread to a rack or towel-lined basket to cool. (*You can join us for the on-going activities, but please keep an eye on the bread. Rotate them in the oven every 7-10 minutes and keep baking the loaves until all the loaves have been baked.)

MATERIALS: a sharp knife

Bake Bread, Tuareg-Style Meal, and Greeting

9. Enjoy a tuareg-style meal:

a. Have the 2 boy volunteers share with the girls what they learned about Tuaregs.

b. Have the girl volunteers share about their food/drink items.

c. Have a mom explain that Tuaregs, like many Africans, eat communally. That means everyone eats from the same dish. Eat “meal” in tent which discussing what and how Tuaregs eat. Remember that boys must continue to wear their veils, though they can move them from their mouths. Also, be sure to look out for scorpions, which are particularly dangerous in the Sahara desert!

d. Divide the girls into 6 groups (1 group per tent). They will bring with them a plate of cups and a plate of food. Everyone can eat in their tents. Instructors can taste everything as well!

10. Tuareg Greetings: After the “meal” have everyone come out of their tents. Explain that when the Tuareg meets a friend they don’t shake hands. Instead they brush right palms against each other and then each person withdraws his hand quickly and snaps his fingers against his palm. Have everyone find a few “friends” in the group and practice this greeting.

11. Go inside. Have all the children assist in throwing away trash and bringing inside the tents, mats, veils, scorpions, and any other items.

Moroccan Berbers & Fantasia

12. Point out Morocco on a map and quickly show some pictures of Morocco from a book that Shannon will bring. Many Berbers live in Northern Africa, including Morocco. Unlike Tuaregs, Berbers are Muslim. Does anyone remember what other country we studied today that has mostly Muslims living there? (Egypt) The boys/men can remove their veils. In Muslim culture, women (not men) must cover up. If you have it available, play some Arabic music and demonstrate how women dress in Muslim cultures if desired. You can either use the real clothing if you have it or you can dress a child in a long robe (adult bathrobe, preferably black) and then wrap a dark scarf around her face making sure to cover all of her hair.

-If anyone has brought items from North Africa to show the children, allow them to show the items.

MATERIALS: a book on Morocco or pictures from your laptop and optional items: Arab music, Arab clothing, etc.

13. (Optional: If you are not limited by time) Execute a Moroccan Berber fantasia, a cavalry charge. Go outside. Have the children line up in 4 lines. Tell the children Moroccan Berber's participate in a cavalry charge which they call fantasia. It's kind of like a medieval jousting tournament, but instead of armor, the men wear white jellabas. Have 4 children go at a time. Each racer will wear a white long-sleeved shirt, hold on to a stick horse, and hold a "rifle." (If we're able to get 4 water guns for the rifles, fill them with water ahead of time.) You will stand at the finish line holding a white "turban." At the drop of the turban, the children will race on their "horses" to the end of the field and then pretend to shoot a "rifle." If we have water guns, we can lay out 4 targets for them to shoot at with their water guns. Have the first group return to the starting lines and pass off the white shirts, stick horses, and rifles to the next children in line. Repeat until all children have had a chance to charge. (See a picture of a Berber fantasia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasia_(culture).)

(Note: Girls can take off their scarves for this event since they'll have to pretend to be men as only men participate in Berber Fantasias.)

MATERIALS: white shirts, stick horses, a white "turban", & rifles/water guns

Morocco: Bedouin Tea Time & Review

14. *While children are outside* prepare items for Bedouin Tea Time:

a. Pour mint tea into 40 cups. Place the cups onto the bar.

b. Slice up some of the cooked knobz bread so that you have at least 40 pieces/slices. Divide the bread among 5 plates.

c. After activity 12 (and 13 if you are able to do it), tell children that we are going to have Bedouin tea time. Because the Bedouins are Muslim, girls and boys do not eat together. Divide the girls & boys into separate tables.

d. Explain that when a guest arrives at a Bedouin tent, they are served at least 4 cups of very sweet mint tea. Guests must drink the tea. They serve their tea hot, which they claim helps them to cool off. We are going to serve our tea cold, though, so that no one burns themselves.

e. Sometimes they also will serve something to eat. Fried eggs are a popular treat as is hummus. Hummus is made from pureed chickpeas. Just like the Tuaregs, Bedouins eat communally, all from the same platters. Instead of using wooden spoons, Bedouins use bread (knobz) to scoop up their food. They also only use their right hands to eat. We will eat the hummus by scooping it up with the knobz bread that we made.

f. Have children and moms sanitize their hands.

g. Allow children and moms to each get a cup of mint tea.

h. While they are getting the tea, place a plate of bread and a container of hummus at each table.

MATERIALS: 1 gallon of cold sweet mint tea (prepared ahead of time by brewing 4 quarts of water with 14 mint tea bags and 2 cups of sugar), 40 small cups, a sharp knife for cutting bread, a cutting board, 5 containers of hummus, and 5 disposable plates

15. Review what we learned about North Africa by asking questions such as: Name someone in the Bible who was in Egypt. What desert covers North Africa? (Sahara) What river flows through Egypt? (Nile) What are cartouches? What do we call the ancient Egyptian form of writing that is done using pictures? (hieroglyphics) Name something that happens when someone is made into a mummy. What do Tuareg men wear on their faces? Where do they live? They are nomads; what does it mean that they are nomads? What do Tuaregs eat? Many of the people of Morocco and Egypt are Muslim; how do the women dress? What do Bedouins like to drink? What do they eat? What was your favorite activity from today?

Joke #2: Why were ancient Egyptian children so confused?

Because their daddies were mummies!

Looking for books and lapbooks?

More of our favorite books to read on Ancient Egypt - We read MANY books on Ancient Egypt. These were our favorites.

You Wouldn't Want to Be a Pyramid Builder!: A Hazardous Job You'd Rather Not Have
You Wouldn't Want to Be a Pyramid Builder!: A Hazardous Job You'd Rather Not Have

This series is a lot of fun to read. It combines lots of great facts with humorous illustrations and a few icky facts as well. Also look for "You Wouldn't Want to Be an Egyptian Mummy!," "You Wouldn't Want to Be Cleopatra!," and "You Wouldn't Want to Be Tutankhamen!" from the same series.

 
Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cleopatra: The Life of an Egyptian Queen (Graphic Nonfiction) by Gary Jeffrey - Book images are from amazon.com.The Curse of King Tut's Tomb (Graphic History) by Michael BurganTut's Mummy: Lost...and Found (Step into Reading) by Judy DonnellyMs. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt by Joanna ColeThe Story of the Nile by Anne MillardPharaoh's Boat by David WeitzmanThe Mystery of the Hieroglyphs by Carol DonoughueSeeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs by James RumfordThe Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley ClimoThe Shipwrecked Sailor: An Egyptian Tale with Hieroglyphs by Tamara Bower
Cleopatra: The Life of an Egyptian Queen (Graphic Nonfiction) by Gary Jeffrey - Book images are from amazon.com.
Cleopatra: The Life of an Egyptian Queen (Graphic Nonfiction) by Gary Jeffrey - Book images are from amazon.com.
The Curse of King Tut's Tomb (Graphic History) by Michael Burgan
The Curse of King Tut's Tomb (Graphic History) by Michael Burgan
Tut's Mummy: Lost...and Found (Step into Reading) by Judy Donnelly
Tut's Mummy: Lost...and Found (Step into Reading) by Judy Donnelly
Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt by Joanna Cole
Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt by Joanna Cole
The Story of the Nile by Anne Millard
The Story of the Nile by Anne Millard
Pharaoh's Boat by David Weitzman
Pharaoh's Boat by David Weitzman
The Mystery of the Hieroglyphs by Carol Donoughue
The Mystery of the Hieroglyphs by Carol Donoughue
Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs by James Rumford
Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs by James Rumford
The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo
The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo
The Shipwrecked Sailor: An Egyptian Tale with Hieroglyphs by Tamara Bower
The Shipwrecked Sailor: An Egyptian Tale with Hieroglyphs by Tamara Bower

My boys really enjoyed Cleopatra: The Life of an Egyptian Queen (Graphic Nonfiction) by Gary Jeffrey. It is a historically accurate book on Cleopatra that is illustrated like a comic book but includes lots of historical information. They also loved The Curse of King Tut's Tomb (Graphic History) by Michael Burgan. It is also historically accurate and is illustrated like a comic book. We usually get as much information from these books as we do from a chapter book on the same subject. A few more that we loved include Tut's Mummy: Lost...and Found (Step into Reading) by Judy Donnelly, Ms. Frizzle's Adventures: Ancient Egypt by Joanna Cole, The Story of the Nile by Anne Millard, Pharaoh's Boat by David Weitzman, The Mystery of the Hieroglyphs by Carol Donoughue, Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs by James Rumford, The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo, The Shipwrecked Sailor: An Egyptian Tale with Hieroglyphs by Tamara Bower, Pepi and the Secret Names by Jill Paton Walsh, Tutankhamen's Gift by Robert Sabuda, Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile by Tomie dePaola, The Winged Cat: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by Deborah Nourse Lattimore, Pyramid by David Macaulay, & The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle by Claudia Logan.

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Count Your Way Through Egypt by Jim Haskins - Book images are from amazon.com Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Parry HeideMadhi: A Child of Egypt (Children of the World (Blackbirch)) by Mango Editions
Count Your Way Through Egypt by Jim Haskins - Book images are from amazon.com
Count Your Way Through Egypt by Jim Haskins - Book images are from amazon.com
Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Parry Heide
Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Parry Heide
Madhi: A Child of Egypt (Children of the World (Blackbirch)) by Mango Editions
Madhi: A Child of Egypt (Children of the World (Blackbirch)) by Mango Editions

More of our favorite books on modern Egypt

Count Your Way Through Egypt by Jim Haskins has nice illustrations and covers a variety of aspects of life in modern Egypt. It also includes how to say numbers in arabic, which the children enjoyed doing! Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Parry Heide is a good fictional account showing what daily life looks like for a child in Cairo. It follows a boy as he leads his donkey cart throughout the shops of Cairo and finally arrives home to tell his family something he has learned. Madhi: A Child of Egypt (Children of the World (Blackbirch)) by Mango Editions focuses on the daily life of a child in modern Egypt. A Child's Day in an Egyptian City by K. Eldash is another book written in a similar fashion. Both are children's books with photographs rather than illustrations.

Our Favorite Books on the Sahara Desert & the Tuaregs

Draw Write Now, Book 8: Animals of the World, Dry Land Animals (Draw-Write-Now)
Draw Write Now, Book 8: Animals of the World, Dry Land Animals (Draw-Write-Now)

I love combining subjects! This book includes drawing and handwriting exercises related to some of the Sahara Desert animals.

 
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This Is The Oasis by Miriam Moss - Book images are from amazon.com.Sahara (Vanishing Cultures Series) by Jan ReynoldsInside Sahara by Basil PaoHow the Camel Got His Hump by R. Kipling and L. Zwerger
This Is The Oasis by Miriam Moss - Book images are from amazon.com.
This Is The Oasis by Miriam Moss - Book images are from amazon.com.
Sahara (Vanishing Cultures Series) by Jan Reynolds
Sahara (Vanishing Cultures Series) by Jan Reynolds
Inside Sahara by Basil Pao
Inside Sahara by Basil Pao
How the Camel Got His Hump by R. Kipling and L. Zwerger
How the Camel Got His Hump by R. Kipling and L. Zwerger

This Is The Oasis by Miriam Moss is our favorite picture book on the Sahara. It includes the animals, plants, and people and also has some of the key points I want to cover such as oasis, Tuaregs, sandstorms, trading salt, etc. Sahara (Vanishing Cultures Series) by Jan Reynolds is a 32 page book does a nice job of showing what daily life is like for Tuaregs. It is told from the perspective of a Tuareg child. One Night by Christina Kessler describes a Tuareg boy's first night alone tending his family's flock of goats. It has nice illustrations! Inside Sahara by Basil Pao is a 200 page book full of excellent photographs that show what life is like in the Sahara Desert. For fun you can read the picture book How the Camel Got His Hump by R. Kipling and L. Zwerger.

Our favorite books on Morocco

What's the Matter, Habibi?
What's the Matter, Habibi?

This is a really cute, short picture book that includes some great vocabulary like bazaar and fez. After reading this book, both my boys wanted to make a fez hat.

 
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The Storytellers by Ted Lewin - Book images are from amazon.com.The Butter Man by Elizabeth LettsMy Father's Shop by Satomi IchikawaMirror by Jeannie BakerThe King’s Fountain by Lloyd AlexanderKassim's Shoes by Harold BersonMorocco by Annette SolystRisking the Forbidden Game: Maude Cary (Trailblazer Books) by Dave Jackson and Neta Jackson
The Storytellers by Ted Lewin - Book images are from amazon.com.
The Storytellers by Ted Lewin - Book images are from amazon.com.
The Butter Man by Elizabeth Letts
The Butter Man by Elizabeth Letts
My Father's Shop by Satomi Ichikawa
My Father's Shop by Satomi Ichikawa
Mirror by Jeannie Baker
Mirror by Jeannie Baker
The King’s Fountain by Lloyd Alexander
The King’s Fountain by Lloyd Alexander
Kassim's Shoes by Harold Berson
Kassim's Shoes by Harold Berson
Morocco by Annette Solyst
Morocco by Annette Solyst
Risking the Forbidden Game: Maude Cary (Trailblazer Books) by Dave Jackson and Neta Jackson
Risking the Forbidden Game: Maude Cary (Trailblazer Books) by Dave Jackson and Neta Jackson

The Storytellers by Ted Lewin includes medina, muezzin, souk, sheikh, Berber, Atlas Mountains, Bedouin, talks about dying wool, falconry and different souks in the narrow streets with wonderful watercolor illustrations. The Butter Man by Elizabeth Letts is about a father telling his child a story about the famine in Morocco when he was growing up there. My Father's Shop by Satomi Ichikawa is a story about a young boy helping his father sell rugs at his store in Morocco and how important it is to learn foreign languages. Mirror by Jeannie Baker compares the life of 2 boys, one in urban Australia and one in rural Morocco. There is very little text. The 2 stories are told side by side. A few other great picture books on Morocco include The King’s Fountain by Lloyd Alexander, Mint Tea in Morocco by Geoff Ellsworth, and Kassim’s Shoes by Harold Berson. Morocco by Annette Solyst is a 96 page book full of beautiful photographs that capture life in modern day Morocco. Risking the Forbidden Game: Maude Cary (Trailblazer Books) by Dave Jackson and Neta Jackson is a great 160 page historical fiction chapter book that focuses on a Christian missionary to Morocco.

Studying Christian Missionaries in Africa

Lillian Trasher: The Greatest Wonder in Egypt (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)
Lillian Trasher: The Greatest Wonder in Egypt (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)

This is a 189 page chapter book about a Christian missionary to Egypt. We also read the 2 page chapter on the Christian missionary, Mama Lillian, who started an orphanage in Egypt from "Missionary Stories with the Millers" by Mildred Martin.

 

Optional Lapbook and Map Homework

If you'd like to do more at home, you can create a lapbook or map or play a geography game using one of the below resources.

Free Lapbooks:

Modern Egypt Lapbook

Ancient Egypt Lapbook

Ancient Egypt Lapbook

Free Printable Map:

Map of Africa (*We printed this off and wrote in & colored the Nile River, Mediterranean Sea, and Red Sea. We glued yellow sugar crystals over where the Sahara Desert would be and added a pyramid near the Nile. You can make a pyramid out of paper. We used a pyramid-shaped container that held a tea bag.)

Free African Geography Computer Games:

African Geography Tour Computer Game

African Brainteaser Computer Game

African Map Puzzle Computer Game

Material List for the Lesson

ITEMS FOR EACH FAMILY TO BRING FOR EACH OF THEIR CHILDREN:

- a roll of good quality toilet paper (NOT a double roll) for activity 5 (Really cheap toilet paper breaks too easily and will not work well for this activity.)

- a printed sheet of paper with their name “translated” into hieroglyphics which you can do by entering their name at http://www.quizland.com/hiero.htm . (If you have older children, you can simply print out the entire hieroglyphic alphabet and have your child “translate” their name into hieroglyphics themselves.)

- One per boy: a long scarf (preferably blue). It must be at least 5 feet long.

- a toy pop-up tent (*If you don’t have one, bring a bed sheet and we will make a tent using 2 chairs.)(One per family)

- a “mat” for sitting on in the grass (woven mat, pillowcase, placemat, kitchen towel, etc.)

- children’s world atlas or printed map of Africa (preferably a children’s atlas or map that includes pictures of items, animals, etc. that are on the continent of Africa) (One for every 2 children)

- Any items you may have from Northern Africa to show the children (Optional - only if you have this)

ITEMS TO BRING TO USE WITH THE ENTIRE CLASS:

-(1 set for each group of 5-6 children): 1 small mixing bowl or 2 cup liquid measuring cup, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 mixing spoon (preferably wooden), 1 rubber scraper, 1 cup measuring cup, measuring spoons, a rectangular baking sheet, a kitchen towel, a mat for rolling out dough or sheet of wax paper or parchment paper, & bread ingredients: 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 tablespoon yeast, 4 cups flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, additional flour for kneading, non-stick cooking spray for the pan

- Books on Egypt: “The Golden Book Children’s Bible,” “The Princess and the Baby,” & “Count Your Way Through Egypt” by James Haskins

- self-hardening clay (enough to have 30 golf-ball-sized balls), a spoon or other object to use to scoop out the clay, 30 sheets of wax paper (each sheet at least 6”x9”), 30 toothpicks, sharpie marker, & a book on hieroglyphics

- a wire clothes hanger that has been unwrapped or cut so that it is a straight line, a homemade version of a canonic jar (I used a flower vase painted gold and placed a stuffed animal inside so that the animal head would stick out), a feather, a container of salt, a Ziploc bag that is holding a piece of chicken fat or raw meat that has been sitting out for more than a day (optional), a container of cinnamon, scented lotion, a piece of clothing made of linen and/or sports wrap, & a couple small animal figurines or small toy animals

- photos of Tuaregs from books or from the Internet

- toy scorpions (optional)

- 3 boxes of couscous, large saucepan, measuring cup, measuring spoon for salt, salt, & mixing spoon

- goat’s milk, 30 small cups (like Dixie bathroom cups), & 6 sturdy disposable plates

- 2 boxes of dried diced (not whole) dates, goat’s cheese, 6 sturdy disposable plates, & 30 plastic spoons

- a sharp knife

-(optional: if doing the Moroccan Fantasia) white shirts, stick horses, a white "turban", & toy rifles/water guns

-photos of Morocco (from books or the Internet)

-1 gallon of cold sweet mint tea (prepared ahead of time by brewing 4 quarts of water with 14 mint tea bags and 2 cups of sugar), 40 small cups, a sharp knife for cutting bread, a cutting board, 5 containers of hummus, and 5 disposable plates

Ready for the next lesson?

Dramatize the mummification process, carve clay cartouches, eat a Tuareg-style meal, act out an Ashanti tale, dramatize the historic gold and salt trades centered in Ghana, paint watercolor paintings of the animals of the Congo, make Nigerian-style tie-dye shirts, hunt like a Pygmy and act out the Pygmy Honey Dance, enjoy an Ethiopian-style feast, create Zulu shields, and more in this fun 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa!

  • North Africa Lesson - This is part 1 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa. This week's focus is North Africa. Dramatize the mummification process, carve clay cartouches, eat a Tuareg-style meal, make Moroccan Khobz, hold a Moroccan Berber fantasia and more!
  • Western Africa Lesson - This is part 2 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa. Act out an Ashanti tale, dramatize the historic gold and salt trades centered in Ghana, mold Ashanti gold weights out of clay, attempt to carry baskets and babies in the Ghanaian fashion, and more!
  • West and Central Africa Lesson - This is part 3 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa. Make watercolor paintings of the animals of the Congo, taste Nigerian chin chin, fufu, and Ground Nut Soup, make Nigerian-style tie-dye shirts, hunt like a Pygmy and act out the Pygmy Honey Dance, and more!
  • East and South Africa Lesson - This is part 4 of a 4 part hands-on unit study on Africa. Enjoy an Ethiopian-style feast, create Zulu shields, make Masai necklaces and attempt Masai-style spear throwing, and more!
  • Africa Unit Presentations and Field Trip Ideas - For the culminating activity for our 4 part hands-on unit on Africa, make African dishes and present on famous people relevant to Africa. Also included is where we went for field trips during this unit.
  • Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. The unit studies include the Human Body, Simple Machines, Earth Science, Medieval Period, American Revolution, Pioneer Life, Countries of the World, and many more! For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources.

Video Clips We Enjoyed

Where are the most famous pyramids in Egypt found?

There are actually more than 100 pyramids built across Egypt, but the most famous ones are in Giza, south of Cairo.

A marker -
Cairo, Egypt
get directions

Konos Volume II
Konos Volume II

Konos Curriculum

Would you like to teach this way every day?

Konos Curriculum

I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful curriculum and was created by moms with active boys!

Konos Home School Mentor

If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!

© 2011 iijuan12

What first comes to mind when you think of North Africa? - Or just leave a note to let me know you dropped by! I love hearing from you!

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    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Very cool! We are currently finishing an ancient Egypt / desert unit, so your fun ideas will be a great way to wrap it up (pun intended, sorry)! =D Thanks for adding my page.

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 4 years ago from South Africa

      As always, beautifully presented! Thank you :)

      Blessed x

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @donnetted: Thank you so much!!!

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 3 years ago from Guatemala

      Such a comprehensive lens. We are about to start a unit study on Africa and will be using your ideas! Thank you.

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 3 years ago from Florida

      @athomemomblog: Thank you so much!

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