August 14, 2012

Ancient Egypt Books

 It has been Mummy Madness around here.  My children adore studying ancient Egypt.  There is just something really cool about it, I guess.  They have been playing Egyptologist and archeologist and "tour guides through ancient Egypt" and several other Egyptian-themed imaginative games.

In all honesty, I didn't put together much of a unit.  I've bottled 71 quarts of green beans, 10 quarts of chokecherry jelly, and 11 quarts of beets so far.  My pears are coming next week and hopefully my tomatoes produce fruit worthy of the lush and extensive foliage on the tomato plants.  

In other words--school has taken a back seat to home production.  I'm so glad it happened during Egypt because my children were interested enough to educate themselves.  I only read half of the books I checked out.  Miriam read the rest to the kids.  I only did two crafts/activities but the kids have spent days devising their own activities.  I really like self-directed learning!

The top mummy was made by my hubs.  He helped with the mummy making.  The idea came from here.  Miriam wanted to add "amulets" to the "linen" so the mummies would be more authentic, so I pulled out some craft beads.  

These mummies are boys.  The one on the right is a ninja mummy and was preserved in the high kick position.  None of us are quite sure the point of all the eyes, but I think my son was going for a scarier visage.

The female mummies are a little more decorated.  Lithia (on the left) is quite a flirt.  She was stepping out with the mummy in the top picture.  My hubby kept saying things like, "So, Lithia, been dead long?" And, "Want to visit my pyramid?"  It was hilarious.

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Now some books!  Keep in mind that there are more ancient Egypt books at the library than any other location during antiquity.  I looked through far too many.  I still checked out more than we needed but it worked out because the kids loved looking through them.
Tutankhamun's Tomb: The Thrill of Discovery is a GOLD STAR BOOK!  It is a compilation of the pictures taken by Harry Burton, the official photographer of the Tut dig.  It was so exciting for the kids (and me!) to see pictures that were taken at the actual dig.  The book is laid out beautifully and is very well-done.  Loved it.
Drawing History: Ancient Egypt by Elaine Raphael and Don Bolognese is about what you'd expect from a drawing book.  The drawings were too hard for most of my kids but that didn't stop them from trying.  Miriam chose to make a sarcophagus and mummy for her extra project.  As part of that she used this book to draw a bunch of things for her mummy to take with her into the afterlife.

Miriam had to read 4 books for her special project.  One of those was Who Was King Tut?  I only skimmed it so I can't say much but Miriam said it was "awesome."
You can't go wrong with Magic Tree House.  Miriam read both the fiction book about ancient Egypt, Mummies in the Morning and the non-fiction research guide Mummies and Pyramids.  Yes, Miriam read all the Magic Tree House books a few years ago, but I don't mind having her read below her reading level when the information is provided in an interesting and accurate manner.  These books are really well done.

All Aboard Reading: Mummies was a really good choice for my younger kids.  They lost interest in some of the longer, more involved mummy books, but they both really liked this one.
Love DK books.  We didn't read it but Miriam and Cowen looked through it at all the excellent pictures.
I was really impressed with the two Beginning History books we read: Egyptian Pyramids and Egyptian Farmers.  The information was right on target age-wise, there was just the right of text per page, and they covered a surprising amount of information.  Definitely some of the best books we read.

I'm sure most of you have read Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs.  It is a really good book because of the history, but also because you can talk about the difference between passion and obsession and taking care of yourself, etc.  Good one.

The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw is the other book Miriam read for her special project.  Yes, her readings were all mummy/burial practices oriented.  She loved it.  It is a book I used with my 10th graders for history.

You Wouldn't Want to be an Egyptian Mummy!  Disgusting Things You'd Rather Not Know by David Stewart was Cowen's and Miriam's favorite book.  I read through a lot of books about mummies and some of them I rejected because of the unnecessary gore/pics.  This book is gross because getting your brain pulled out through your nose is gross no matter how you phrase it, but it wasn't unnecessarily gruesome.  I thought it was age appropriate for my middle elementary aged kids.
Mummy Math: An Adventure in Geometry was a lot of fun.  It is a fiction book that talks about shapes.  I happened to have a bag of wooden shapes that included the shapes discussed in the book, so I pulled the bag out and my kids spent a happy 30 minutes looking at the shapes and finding the ones that matched the ones in the book.  I love unintentional math lessons.  This book lends itself well to intentional math lessons as well.
The 5,000 Year Old Puzzle: Solving a Mystery of Ancient Egypt.  This was my children's other favorite book.  It is a combo of fiction and non-fiction and it was really fun to read through.  Then again, I have a daughter obsessed with solving mysteries but I think all kids would like it.
I didn't read Focus on Ancient Egyptians  by Anita Ganeri to my kids.  I intended to read it but then I got busy and forgot about it.  Then, one day, Miriam discovered it.  She loved it.  It is organized like an encyclopedia with short entries on various parts of Egyptian life.  Surprising me, it became the "go-to" book.  Or, as Miriam called it, it became the "tour guide."  Whenever they packed a suitcase (literally) to visit ancient Egypt, "tour-guide" had to go with them.  It was a huge hit.

One last thing about Egypt (sorry for the excessively long post).  One day I was canning and the kids were getting restless so I looked up ancient Egypt on youtube.  There is a whole national geographic video about how scientists took out Tut and examined him with new technology to figure out how he died.  It lasted 90 minutes and my three oldest children were riveted.  Science and history in one!  Wahoo!  You can find it here.

There are lots of ancient Egyptian videos on youtube, including other BBC and National Geographic movies.  Awesome.

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