Monday, May 10, 2010

Egyptian Day

These last two years, we have been working through our Tapestry of Grace (TOG) Year 1 curriculum for our Humanities studies. The focus has been on the Ancient world and we have just loved it! I never covered this in school so I was learning right alongside my girls. I plan to post about each of our individual study units in time.

One of the things that is recommended by TOG is the End of Unit Celebration. It is an opportunity to show off all the projects and work the children have accomplished over the months they have worked on a Unit. My approach to this has been to have a special day set aside where we have an "Ancient day". So, in the past two years we have had an Ancient Egyptian day, Ancient Civilisations day (which included the Ancient Americas, Ancient China and the Indus Valley), Ancient Greek and Ancient Roman days. We also celebrated our study of the Israelites with as Seder/Passover meal.
I love these and so do my children. They won't let me get away with not having a special celebration at the end of a unit now. It is a great way to review and enjoy all that they have learnt in a relaxed and fun way. It doesn't take a lot of effort but it does remain in the memory for a long time!

As it was our first celebration since we started homeschooling, I definitely went all out, making costumes and planning a really full on day. The costumes were kept simple and I've been able to reuse it for both our Greek and Roman days. I got a cheap white cotton sheet and folded it into the right length, cut a hole at the fold for the head and sewed up the sides. I also found a filmy pleated material which they wrapped around their waists. I also had some shiny gold cloth which I sewed onto one costume - you'll see my sewing skills are pretty limited hence the poor workmanship! They then adorned themselves appropriately with headbands and jewellery.

You can download the Egyptian jewellery template from Danielle's Place. I thought it worked really well! They enjoyed having the opportunity for the liberal use of black eyeliner as well. Of course, mummy and baby had to be dressed as well - since Egyptian children were usually naked, we let Adventure-man wander around in his nappy covered by a white towel. : )

We started the day with a quiz which acted as a review of the things they had learnt over the Unit. They had to start at the end of the room and for every correct answer, they got to advance one square floor tile and when they were at the other end of the room, we got into an imaginary Time Machine and travelled back to Ancient Egypt. They were able to call out famous sights and structures as we flew by them (imaginary of course!).

On our arrival, we tackled some Eyptian Math. These are a few sites that explain how they counted and calculated and it also provides some worksheets.

We then finished off a colouring book project about the 10 Plagues found here.

During our Egyptian studies they made an Egyptian hunting snake-heard throwing stick by painting a wooden spoon. We used the Hands and Hearts Discovery Kit for many of the crafts we did for this unit - it includes the kit and instructions on how to make a paddle doll, Senet (an Egyptian boardgame), how to mummify an orange, how to make your own paint like the Egyptians and it also contains a CD with lovely notebooking pages. 

We learnt that children would practice their hunting throwing skills with a stick like this so I set up a line of soft toys on the top of our chair and the girls practiced their throwing skills. We then played a game of Senet on their homemade boards.You can find out more about Senet here and play online too.

After Senet, we had a go at some of these online games about Ancient Egypt:

During lunch we stopped to watch one of our documentaries on Ancient Egypt from the Discovery Channel. After it was over, we had a look at some Egyptian recipes and decided what we would like to cook for dinner. I took the girls shopping and they helped put the meal together.

We used the following recipes:

Ancient Egyptian Marinade

1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 onion, grated
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

We marinated Chicken thighs for about 40 minutes and then grilled them in the oven, they were delicious!

Korrat (Leeks)

2 lbs. leeks
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil
lemon juice
Slice the leeks into 2 inch pieces. Fry the garlic and sugar in hot oil until the sugar becomes slightly carmelized. Lower the heat and add the leeks, until they are slightly coloured. Sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Barely cover the leeks with water and cook until tender and the liquid is reduced. 

Egyptian Potatoes

20 medium red potatoes, peeled and sliced
4 cups thinly sliced onions
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter,
cut into small cubes
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
6 cups tomato sauce

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Prepare the potatoes and set them aside in a bowl of lightly salted water. Lightly grease a large casserole dish with butter or vegetable oil. Spread out potatoes in a layer, then make a thin layer of onions, dot with cubes of butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Make another layer of potatoes, onions, and butter cubes, season the layer, and continue until you have used up your ingredients, finishing with a layer of potatoes. Pour the tomato sauce over all, cover the casserole with aluminium foil and bake for an hour. Remove the foil and bake for another half hour. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

We finished off our meal with fresh figs and a date cake that we purchased. I found the first two recipes at Counter-cultural School and the potato recipe here.

Everyone dressed up for the feast including dad and we had a great time! It was a lovely memory to make a big effort and it is one the kids remember well.

There are many other activities one might do on a day like this - you could make a sugar lump pyramidwrite your name in Hieroglyphics and make a cartouchedraw like and Egyptian, or mummify an orange. As we took about three weeks to complete our studies, we spread our hands-on activities out over those three weeks.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you and yours had a really fun day. I especially like the idea of trying some foods from that culture.


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