Discovering the Land of the Pharaohs
Ancient Egypt has much to cover, which is why assigning a WebQuest can help student scaffold what they are learning from their textbooks.
It is important to remember that a WebQuest is a search for information on the web. While this is a benefit to students because it allows them to discover personally the information, educators should still give guidance as to what websites would be best for researching the information.
Objective: Students doing this WebQuest will
- discover the culture of Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs
- research a topic in that culture
- prepare a presentation on their topic
- discuss their findings using appropriate language
Prior Knowledge: Prior to assigning the WebQuest, have students brainstorm or mind map what they know about ancient Egypt. Answers expected might include pyramids, pharaohs, the Nile, Sphinx, or hieroglyphics.
Lesson: Form teams of two or three students. Either assign or allow students to choose one of a variety of topics on Ancient Egypt. (Topics can include architecture, science, medicine, art, history, agriculture, government, and/or language.) Once students have a topic to research, assign the WebQuest.
Assessment: Students will present their findings in a group presentation. Groups can decide to use PowerPoint, Posters, Pictures, Storytelling, or even a News report.
Questions to Ask and Resources to Use
Depending on the topic researched, students should have a list of questions that will define their search. While teachers can give specific questions, it is also possible to have students research with the five W's and H (who, what, when, where, why and how). Questions they might pose as they research include:
- Who are the key figures in Egyptian history?
- What are some of the major contributions give the world by the Egyptians?
- When did the rule of the Pharaohs end?
- Where were the most significant ancient artifacts found?
- Why is Egyptian culture important today?
- How can we use information discovered during this WebQuest in today's world?
Use a handout (click here) that will allow students to list facts as well as cite where they found the information.
Resources for the WebQuest can include sites such as:
- educational sites, such as - Ancient Egyptian WebQuest
- topic-related sites, such as - TeacherWeb or History for Kids
- general sites such as - Egypt.com or The University of Memphis
Creating a context for the WebQuest for students helps them to view the research they are doing more as a game than a chore. Set the stage by telling them they will be acting out the roll of Egyptologists. Discuss what kinds of clothing they might be wearing if they were in Egypt on an excavation. Decorate the classroom with pictures and artifacts that will help students get a feel for this ancient culture. Have each team create a diorama to display in the classroom during the unit on Egypt.
The roles of Egyptologist might include:
- The scientist/archeologist
- The art historian
- The writer/reporter
- The historian
- The medical researcher
- The architect
Task One: Students will decide who will cover which rolls and which topics. For instance, one student might be an architect, researching Egyptian structures, while another is the historian, working on a timeline.
Task Two: Students will create some form of presentation on their topic to present as a group and individually. Remember, students can present their work in whichever manner they prefer. Allow them to brainstorm ways to present. Explain that they are not limited to doing PowerPoint presentations. They can be as creative as they wish. For instance, the reporter for the group may want to give a news report with interview of the other members of his team. If the technology is available, the students could film their report to show on the day of the presentations. If technology is not available, they could do a "live" broadcast for the guests attending the presentation.
Once the WebQuests are complete, have the students prepare to present their findings. Again, try to keep the feeling of being Egyptologists back from doing research. Students can give the presentations of their findings to another class or parents. Make sure everyone in each group is given time to share what they learned. Encourage them to play the part of scientists in whatever way they can.
By the end of this Ancient Egypt Civilization WebQuest, students should be able to discuss and answer questions on the topic they researched. After all the presentations are complete, ask students to tell one fact they learned from the other presentations. In addition, they could write a reflective essay on the entire process. Participation in the project should count towards the final grade, along with accuracy of facts and quality of presentation.