Emit Sets Off on his Adventure…

Dear 7B,

By now you should know quite a bit about the civilization of ancient Egypt. Test your knowledge by doing the little quiz below:

Your next steps are to do even more research, participate in a grisly mummification (that will take place next week, so prepare yourselves mentally) and begin writing your story.

Your story should be written in the first person, from the viewpoint of either Emit or Latiwonk. Emit could begin like this:

Phew. At long last I’m getting out of the office. Sure, ancient Egypt might be strenuous and even dangerous, but at least there won’t be any paperwork.

Looking down at ancient Egypt, at first all I can see is desert. But then I see the long strip of the Nile River, cutting through the plain, surrounded by greenness. Llatiwonk has been telling me about it (she never stops talking). Evidently the ancient Egyptians thought the yearly flood was a kind of miracle. It kept them alive, because the silt left by the flood was so fertile. They planted their crops in it. They dug ditches and canals to water their crops, because they knew that rain almost never fell on their land.

But all good things have their downsides: if the flood was too high it could sweep away whole villages. Weird, to be at the mercy of a river, to know that the melting snow in the mountains of Ethiopia could bring you a life-giving stream or a disaster…

Of course, if you are writing your story from Llatiwonk’s point of view, you could have a more “robotic voice”: 

Report: Ancient Egypt

Year: Reign of Tutankhamen

Landing: 5.4 kilometres from the Valley of the Kings, in the neighbourhood of the New Kingdom capital, Thebes

Season: The yearly flood has just receded. The peasant farmers are planting their crops and tending their lands.

First Impressions: The area around the Nile River is a hive of activity. Now that the flood has receded, the peasants are hard at work, planting their staple crops of wheat and barley. From these two crops they make bread and beer, the essentials of life, and of course they pay their taxes to their god-king, known as the pharaoh. He is not the only person who exploits them and takes advantage of their daily, endless labour, but he is the most powerful and the most important.

Notice that I have tried to put quite a lot of detail into my introductions. That’s what you should try to do too. At the link below, you can try a little fill-the-blank quiz in which you can read more of Emit’s story. This should help you to know what your own task involves and also provide more knowledge for your own assignment. 

Click here to try the little fill-the-blank quiz→Emit’s story goes on…

Stop Press:

A picture gallery of ancient Egyptian shoes, based on the discoveries in Tutankhamen’s tomb

Bad teeth tormented the ancient Egyptians (even the god-kings)

A gallery of photos from inside Tutankhamen’s tomb

S1Y – Emit comes in to land…

A friendly alien

 For those students who tend to crunch up assignment sheets and store them with squashed bananas and sweaty socks in their school bags, here is a downloadable version: 

Emit Repoons 2012

DUE DATE: Thursday 23 August

Click on this snippet from the assignment to download another copy.

Dear S1Y,

By now your Emit (or Llatiwonk) should have landed on the desert sands of ancient Egypt. Perhaps your spaceship cleverly transformed into a boat, landing with perfect precision on the waters of the Nile. On the other hand, you may have buried yourselves along with your spaceship in the soft silt of the Nile floodplains. No matter what adventures you have had so far, I hope you’re enjoying the journey. Remember to fill your story with historical information, dialogue with people who lived in ancient Egypt, and your thoughts and evaluations of what you notice and perceive. After all, you don’t get to be an alien or a robot all that often…

Here are some sites you might find interesting and helpful. There is also a quizlet in the post below this one on ancient Egypt. Whiz through it, by all means, but then start your research and report.

Kind regards,

Ms Green

Mummy Maker Game at the BBC Website

The importance of the Nile – BBC Website

The importance of the Nile – an easier website

Questions and answers about the Nile – an easy website

A day in the life of various ancient Egyptians – PBS Website

A fascinating account of archaeological evidence on who actually built the Pyramids – PBS website

Ancient health and the importance of brushing your teeth, as shown by studies of mummies

From the Fertile Crescent to Ancient Egypt

The “Natufians” were hunter-gatherers whose descendants eventually became the first farmers and herders in the Fertile Crescent. Ultimately a great civilisation developed in that region. The people of that civilisation were called the Sumerians and they are generally credited with inventing the wheel and developing the first alphabet. These were remarkable achievements for people with hardly any wood, whose best material for a writing surface and for building houses was mud.

Photo kindly provided by Mrs McQueen

The ancient Egyptians built the Great Pyramid of Giza without the wheel. In addition, they developed their own system of writing, probably influenced by the Sumerians. The ancient Egyptians usually get the credit, among other things, for domesticating cats, embalming bodies with great skill and living successfully in a land that, except for a thin fertile strip near its river, was basically desert. It was an improbable place for such a major and successful civilisation, made possible only by the existence of that river, the Nile, and by the talents of the people. Every year the Nile delivered its fertile silt to the inhabitants of the Nile Valley, its floodwaters sweeping down from the Ethiopian mountains in the south to the plains of the north. Every year the Egyptian peasant farmers used that silt and water to crop their land and grow the food that supported the whole population.

Some of my students think it would have been much easier for human beings once they started to farm. My students point out that people would no longer have encountered as much danger from hunting and would have felt more confidence about having food when they needed it. While these are fair points, farming in ancient Egypt was labour-intensive, to say the least. A peasant farmer was also at the bottom of the social hierarchy. This was no easy life. Hunter-gatherers six or seven thousand years before in a fertile area like the Fertile Crescent might well have had more leisure time and fewer people telling them what to do – and no one to tax them as well.

Find out about ancient Egypt at these links, ensuring that you make notes on topics that could help with assignment research:

Mummy Maker Game at the BBC Website

The importance of the Nile – BBC Website

The importance of the Nile – an easier website

Questions and answers about the Nile – an easy website

A day in the life of various ancient Egyptians – PBS Website

A fascinating account of archaeological evidence on who actually built the Pyramids – PBS website