ALEX Lesson Plan


Back in Time: Hieroglyphics in Ancient Egypt

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Kathleen Lowery
System: Huntsville City
School: Ridgecrest Elementary School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 7231


Back in Time: Hieroglyphics in Ancient Egypt


There are over 500 ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Students will use the Internet to translate their names into hieroglyphs. They will use the translation to design a clay cartouche.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
AED (5) Visual Arts
2. Apply variety and unity in the production of two- and three-dimensional works of art.
Example: using Joan Miró's Horse Carnival of Harlequins to create a circus, carnival, zoo painting, or diorama
  • Producing moving and stationary sculptures
  • Examples: mobiles, totem poles, origami paper sculptures, clay coil or slab-built pottery
    AED (5) Visual Arts
    6. Describe works of art according to the style of various cultures, times, and places.
    cultures--artistic styles of Native American cultures of the Southwestern and Pacific Northwestern United States,
    times--Asher B. Durand's early nineteenth-century painting Kindred Spirits,
    places--gargoyles and sculptures known as grotesques from European countries
  • Describing ways in which the subject matter of other disciplines is interrelated with the visual arts
  • Examples:
    mathematics--Mavrits Cornelis (M. C.) Esher and tesselations;
    language arts--Patricia Pollaco and book illustrations;
    social studies--Matthew Brady and Civil War photography;
    science--transformation of shapes to forms, circles to spheres, squares to cubes, and triangles to pyramids
    AED (6-8) Visual Arts
    1. Create works of art utilizing a variety of traditional and nontraditional media and techniques.
    Examples: torn-paper collage, weaving, wire sculpture, clay relief
  • Applying steps artists use in the production of art, including conceptualizing ideas and forms, refining ideas and forms, and reflecting on and evaluating both the process of production and the product
  • Applying the elements of art and principles of design to the production of two- and three-dimensional artwork
  • Examples:
    two-dimensional--monochromatic paintings, found or natural object prints, texture-rubbing compositions;
    three-dimensional--papier-mâchè masks, clay whistles
  • Creating original multimedia works of art
  • Examples: television broadcasts, digital imaging, multimedia presentations
  • Creating original works of art using observational skills
  • Examples: drawing a shoe; painting a still life; creating a landscape in mixed-media; creating timed, gesture studies of a figure
    AED (6-8) Visual Arts
    5. Define the appropriate technical terminology in creating a work of art.
    Example: explaining the terms greenware and bisque-fired when discussing the creation of a piece of pottery
    TC2 (3-5)
    5. Practice safe use of technology systems and applications.
    Examples: protecting personal information online, avoiding inappropriate sites, exiting inappropriate sites
    TC2 (3-5)
    8. Collect information from a variety of digital sources.
    Examples: online libraries, multimedia dictionaries
  • Using technology tools to organize information
  • Demonstrating efficient Internet search strategies
  • Example: keyword search
  • Evaluating electronic resources for reliability based on publication date, bias, accuracy, and source credibility
  • Local/National Standards:

    National Art Standard: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and culture.

    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will demonstrate an understanding of the history and culture behind ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Students will search various web sites featuring hieroglyphics translators. Using the hieroglyphics translation of their name, students will create a clay cartouche.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    31 to 60 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    self-hardening clay, raffia strips, wooden stylus, scrap paper for design work, cardstock for cartouche templates, colored paper for making beads

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computer(s) with Internet access and printer


    Teacher should be familiar with the following terms:
    cartouche (See for definitions.)
    hieroglyphics (See for definitions.)
    Use card stock to make several cartouche templates for students to trace. For an example of a cartouche to use in making the template visit: Cartouche Template.
    Assemble books about hieroglyphics and ancient Egypt for classroom display. (See attached list for possible titles.)

    1.)Introduce the lesson by giving background information about scribes in ancient Egypt. A sample introduction follows:
    "How do we know so much about ancient Egypt? The scribe. The scribe was one of the most important people in society because the Egyptians wanted to keep records of what they did and what they had. There are over 500 different characters in Egyptian hieroglyphics so boys began learning this useful skill when they were nine years old. Parents wanted their sons to be scribes because it was easier work than building pyramids and paid much better than being a farmer. Scribes worked keeping records of the king's treasure, his commands, and wise sayings. They also recorded weather, flood levels, crops, and inventories for merchants."

    2.)Students will explore various hieroglyphic translator sites on the web. If time allows students should search for hieroglyphic translator sites on their own by using an approved search engine. If there is not time for students to complete their own search, the teacher may bookmark the hieroglyphic translator sites in the attached document for students to access. (If there are not enough computers available for student use, those students waiting to use computers can take this time to use colored paper to make beads that will later be attached with the cartouche to the necklace.)

    3.)Instruct students to translate their names into hierloglyphics using one of the translator websites. Students should print their translated name and return to their seats.

    4.)Upon returning to their seats students will use scrap paper to draw their names in hieroglyphics as found during the computer search. Once students have copied or traced the hieroglyphics onto the scrap paper they will turn the paper over and scribble under each picture with pencil to create carbon paper.

    5.)Show students pictures of cartouches and explain that they will be using hieroglyphics to make a cartouche with their name on it. Pass out the cartouche templates to trace. Instruct students to roll the clay into a flat slab. Then have students trace the cartouche shape and cut it out with the wooden stylus. With the carbon side down, students will trace over the hieroglyphics to transfer the symbols to the clay. Remove the paper. Symbols will need to be refined with the stylus. Punch a hole in the top of the cartouche for attaching the raffia string later.

    6.)Allow the clay to harden according to package directions. If they have not done so previously students may use colored paper to roll beads to add to the necklace. Once cartouches have hardened attach the raffia and beads.
    (Salt Clay recipe)
    You may use salt clay if self hardening clay is not available.

    **Some files will display in a new window. Others will prompt you to download.

    Assessment Strategies

    Students will turn in the printed copy of their translated name. Teacher will use a hieroglyphic translator website or book to determine whether the names are translated correctly. Final product will be assessed for completion.


    Students can visit Guardians Egypt website for childrens activities relating to ancient Egypt.



    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.