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Hieroglyphics: It's Not Greek to Me! (It's Egyptian!)


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  • Arts & Humanities
    Art History, Foreign Language, Language Arts, Visual Arts
  • Educational Technology
  • Social Studies

  • Anthropology, History, World History, Regions/Cultures


3-5, 6-8, 9-12, Advanced

Brief Description

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.


Students will

  • 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

Materials Needed[shopmaterials]

  • computers with Internet access, or printed pages from Internet resources
  • lids from plastic containers (optional)
  • plaster of paris (optional)
  • pencil

Lesson Plan

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.

Extension activities:

  • 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

Education World

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

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: Foreign Language


  • 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


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