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Our Egyptian Experience

December 12, 2016

It was just another regular day in social studies class with Mr. Faltys, we logged into our online textbook, clicked to the next screen and saw “Ancient Egypt”.  We had some basic background knowledge of Egyptians and their culture but we had no idea of this memorable experience that it would lead us to.  Clicking away on our laptops, exploring the culture, Egypt seemed like a world away.  We thought our learning wouldn’t go past our computer screens, when, our classmate, Ella Kappel, mentioned that her aunt Jill taught in Egypt and currently lived there.  Mr. Faltys, surprised by this, asked Ella to contact Jill and ask if the 6th grade class could talk to her about living in Egypt and describing its ancient culture.  Mr. Faltys said, “I want my students to witness what it was like outside our country.  I want them to experience the differences in cultures.  Not all other countries are like ours and not everyone has the luxuries we take advantage of everyday.  By Skyping with Jill, we will be able to bring the Egyptian culture alive and directly to our classroom here in small town Nebraska.” Jill agreed and she gave Mr. Faltys her skype address so we could talk to her.  The next day we tried to Skype with Jill.  When we tried to Skype we could either not see Jill, or she couldn’t see us, but either way we could hear her.  We were able to connect, and see her, three other times in class.  

Jill told us many facts about Egypt.  She told us that people bathe in the Nile river still today, even though there are crocodiles.  She told us about her visit to the ancient tombs.  Soldiers guarded the tombs and protected them from bombs by building towers over them.  Researchers were working to remove the mummies from the tombs to place them in museums.  Jill said they had to work during the evening because they weren’t able to have lights in the tombs to prevent fading of the ancient writing on the tomb walls.  

Jill has also been to King Tut’s tomb.  She informed us that people used to say that he died when he was about 18 years old but they have discovered that he was actually only about 10.  According to the research that was done, his death was due to a broken bone that got infection.  A baby was found in the tomb with King Tut.  People believed that any time the baby was taken from the tomb, bad events happened to the Egypt area.  

As she was talking about the different landmarks in Egypt, we were able to mark it down on our maps in the classroom.  Mr.Faltys has maps drawn on his classroom walls.  He made us locate where Egypt was on the map. Once we did that he made us label different places in Egypt. The things we labeled were the Nile River, upper and lower Egypt, the Red Sea, Cairo, and Elephantine Island.  Learning from Jill brought the facts we read about to life for us.  We read about these places in our textbook, but the learning experiences was much more memorable when we were able to see things like the Nile River, in real time, as Jill was boating down it!

After Skyping with Jill four times, she said she would like to send us so things from Egypt to finish off our unit.  Five days later, a box arrived in our classroom.  Jill had sent several items with a typed out list of what it is and why it is special in Egypt.  The picture above shows what was included in the box.  From left to right, top to bottom, we will explain what we were holding.  Ella is holding a small, white, alabaster dish.  Jill uses small bowls made of alabaster to hold essential oils when they experiment and mummify cats.  Ella is also holding stones that are Rose Granite.  These came from the same quarry King Tut’s sarcophagus (stone coffin) was made.  Sammy and Jase are wearing traditional Egyptian clothes.  These dresses are called Galabaya.  Gala means party and baya means dress.  They are made of Egyptian cotton.  Both boys and girls wear a Galabaya.  The black one, worn by Sammy, is meant for everyday.  For special events it might be laced with colorful stitching.  Jase is wearing one more meant for tourists because of its elaborate color and patterns.  Maddi is holding a comb.  Combs come from ancient Egypt.  The women would put honeycomb atop their head.  After it melted from the sun’s heat, women would comb the wax through their hair.  Ashly is holding another alabaster dish made of alabaster stone.  One of Jill’s students made this.  She said to add vegetable oil and insert a tealight candle.  Cadance is holding a painted glass bottle that looks like a perfume bottle.  Ashlynn is holding a blue glass bottle similar to the one Cadance has.  These are what ancient priests stored the Essential Oils in while the King or Pharaoh was alive.  Natalie is holding decorated bookmarks made of papyrus.  Drew has a bag of Natron that Jill dug up from The Valley of the Natrona.  It is similar to our salt but is round rather than salt crystals like we are used to.  This will be used to mummify the chicken in the spring.  Kevin is holding two bottles of oil.  Jill sent enough bottles of Sandalwood Oil for each of us to take home.  Sandalwood oil is used to keep faces of the dead body nice and soft.  We put a little drop on our face and it made our skin as soft as a baby’s bottom!  Jill also sent bottles of Lotus Oil.  Lotus Oil is used for the rest of the body.  We put some on our arms and backs of our hands.  It made our skin smooth and smell nice!  Essential Oils are commonly used in Egypt still today.  We learned that Vick’s Vapor Rub is a recipe that comes from ancient Egypt.

    Our unit on Egypt has been way more exciting than we ever thought it would be.  Ella’s aunt Jill, was willing to take time out of her day to enrich this learning experience for us.  Because of this connection, Jill and Mr. Faltys were able to make our virtual field trip happen.  But the learning doesn’t stop there, Jill will be introducing us to her friend.  We are looking forward our next field trip to India!  

Written By: Mrs. Sayers and the 6th Graders!

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