Idea for Use in the Classroom

The world of ancient Egypt is different from students’ contemporary lives in many respects. The Ancient Egypt 101 video (above) is an ideal place to start them on their exploration of that civilization. Before they watch the video, have student volunteers to share any information they already know about ancient Egypt. Ask: What do you know about the pyramids? Are you familiar with any Egyptian pharaohs? After watching the video once, as a whole class, watch it a second time, section by section, and make a list of topics reflecting the major themes of the video. Discuss how students’ prior knowledge fits into this schema. Your class list may look something like this: 

  • Dates
  • Locations
  • Development into an empire
  • Important leaders and their roles
  • Religious beliefs
  • Practices related to religious beliefs
  • STEM innovations and their uses
  • Writing system innovations and their uses
  • How the empire ended

For each topic, discuss how thorough students feel their knowledge is after the video. Divide the class into three groups to brainstorm ancient Egyptian topics they would like to know more about. Ask: What are some topics that the video did not cover, or covered only a little? For example, the students may note that they would like to know about ancient Egyptian economics, relationships with neighboring states, social structures, or the arts beyond pyramids and tombs. Have each group record the results of their brainstorming in a list. After each group presents its list to the class, have each student use the discussion to generate a research question to explore during the study of ancient Egypt.


ancient Egypt

civilization in northeastern Africa, lasting from 3200 BCE to about 400 CE.


complex way of life that developed as humans began to develop urban settlements.


having to do with the present time period.


ruler of ancient Egypt.


three-dimensional shape with a square base and triangular sides that meet in a point.