Egyptian Standards

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This lesson was  an interdisciplinary project I coordinated with one of my collagues, a seventh grade social studies teacher.  In Ancient Cultures class, the students studied Ancient Egypt and worked together in “Nomes”, which are traditional Egyptian social groups. Each Nome had its own patron God, color and symbols. To complement their group work in social studies/Ancient Cultures, We created “Standards”, portable hanging banners, in art class. Each student created a panel illustration in the style of Egyptian papyrus paintings to represent an aspect of their Nome. They decided as a group who would illustrate which attributes, so that when assembled, the banner would fully and accurately represent the group. Each student began this lesson by making “faux papyrus”. We used small cut sponges to swipe watered-down tempera paint across a piece of oak tag—it gave the realistic illusion of woven plant fibers! students used reference pictures from books on ancient Egypt to draw their individual design, and we used colored pencils and extra-fine tipped Sharpies to complete the panel. The edges were sewn with beads and raffia using a simple wrap stitch technique. During this unit, I supplied some handouts describing traditional papyrus-making and what life was like for an ancient Egyptian artisan. The students learned that these artisans worked in very established styles and were not free to create original designs. They, too,  tried to work in a unified style so that the individual panels would work together when combined.

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