Hieroglyphics: It's Not Greek to Me! (It's Egyptian!)
Arts & Humanities
Art History, Foreign Language, Language Arts, Visual Arts
Anthropology, History, World History, Regions/Cultures
3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Advanced
Students can use hieroglyphic characters to spell a name, write a sentence, and create their own Rosetta stones. They can have fun using online hieroglyphic translators too.
use a phonetic reference resource to spell their names using hieroglyphic characters.
use plaster of paris to create their own Rosetta stones with secret messages.
use an online translator to see common words in hieroglyphic characters.
hieroglyphic, Egypt, ancient, Rosetta stone, translate, translator, secret
computers with Internet access, or printed pages from Internet resources
lids from plastic containers (optional)
plaster of paris (optional)
Provide students with a printed reference about the hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt. (Students with online access can view the sources online.) Each reference should offer a key to the common hieroglyphic symbols and their sounds/pronunciations. Following are a handful of online resources that might be used:
Have students cut or trace symbols from these resources to spell/write/draw their names.
Have students use the hieroglyphics alphabet to write a sentence. Then ask them to translate one another's sentences.
Introduce students to such online tools as the Egyptian Name Translator or the Online Hieroglyphics Translator, in which students can get the hieroglyphics translation of a word or name.
For each student, fill the lid of a plastic container with plaster of paris. Before it dries, allow the student to use the tip of a pencil to carve into the plaster his or her name or a message. When the plaster is dry, students will have their own Rosetta stones.
Students use their hieroglyphic pronunciation keys to translate a grade-appropriate word, phrase, or sentence from English into hieroglyphs and from hieroglyphs into English. Lesson Plan Source
FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
GRADES K - 4
NA-VA.K-4.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 5 - 8
NA-VA.5-8.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
GRADES 9 - 12
NA-VA.9-12.4 Understanding the Visual Arts In Relation to History and Cultures
NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
LANGUAGE ARTS: English
LANGUAGE ARTS: Foreign Language
SOCIAL SCIENCES: World History
GRADES 5 - 12
NSS-WH.5-12.2 Early Civilizations and the Rise of Pastoral Peoples
NSS-WH.5-12.3 Classical Traditions, Major Religions, and Giant Empires
See more lesson ideas in Education World's History Center.
Return to the Bring Ancient History to Life! lesson plan page.
Originally published 8/23/2002
Last updated 07/14/2011