Ancient Egypt

Students explore the values, daily routines, structures, and rituals of ancient Egypt and compare them to those of society today, while exploring the evidence an author uses to support points in a text.

Unit Summary

As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit was revised in March 2021. See which texts and materials have changed as part of the revision in this guide to our 1st Grade text adjustments. If you are looking for the previous version of this unit, you can find it in our archives here.

In this unit, students explore ancient Egypt. Over the course of the unit, students learn and explore different characteristics of ancient Egypt and what the ancient Egyptians valued. Through learning about the daily routines, structures, and rituals of ancient Egypt, students will be challenged to draw conclusions about what the civilization valued and how those values compare to society today. Students will also learn about the role that mummies and pyramids played in ancient Egyptian society and why archeologists and scientists have been intrigued by them ever since. It is our hope that this unit, in conjunction with the others in the sequence, will help students understand and appreciate early civilizations that have had a lasting impact on the world.

Since this is the culminating unit of the year, students will use their understanding of all 1st grade informational standards to build knowledge from the core unit texts. In addition, students will review how to determine the reasons an author gives to support points in a text, how to identify basic similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic, and how to use text features to locate key information in a text.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

See Text Selection Rationale

Assessment

This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What did ancient Egyptians believe and value?
  • How did ancient Egyptian beliefs and values shape their civilization?

Writing Focus Areas

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Sentence-Level Focus Areas

  • Use frequently occurring conjunctions “because,” “but,” and “so.”

Throughout the unit students are encouraged to respond to daily Target Task prompts using “because,” “but,” and “so.”

Paragraph-Level Focus Areas

  • Brainstorm using a Single Paragraph Outline.
  • Write a single paragraph.

In this unit, students continue to work on using a Single Paragraph Outline to draft paragraphs. Students will have opportunities to write opinion paragraphs and informational paragraphs using the outline.

Informational Writing Focus Areas

  • Name a topic.
  • Supply facts about the topic.
  • Provide closure.

At the end of the unit, students write their final informational piece of the year. Students will each write about one aspect of ancient Egyptian civilization, supplying facts about the topic.

Vocabulary

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Text-based

boast civilization deserted decay decorative fertile greed ordinary procession sacred stubborn wealthy worship

Related Teacher Tools:

Content Knowledge and Connections

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By the end of the unit, students will understand:

  • The Egyptian civilization started near the Nile River because they were able to get food and water from the river, they could travel up and down it to get goods, and the land was fertile for farming.
  • People had lots of different roles in ancient Egypt. There were:
    • Craftspeople who made things for other people
    • Scribes who read and wrote things for people
    • Pharaohs who were the rulers of Egypt
  • Men and women in ancient Egypt dressed in white linen. They may have put perfume on their head and makeup on their eyes. They also wore jewelry to represent the gods or goddesses.
  • Hieroglyphics were the signs that Egyptians wrote with. There were 700 different hieroglyphs.
  • Ancient Egyptians worshiped many gods and goddesses. They built temples for their important gods. Priests took care of the statues that were inside the temples.
  • Ancient Egyptians believed in the afterlife. Instead of letting dead bodies rot and decay, they made them into mummies.
  • Ancient Egyptians built pyramids to bury pharaohs and other wealthy Egyptians. The pharaohs were buried in tombs with lots of valuables and things they would need in the afterlife, including the Book of the Dead.
  • Tomb raiders broke into the pyramids and tombs to steal all of the valuables.
  • King Tut’s tomb was one of the last tombs to be discovered.

Future Fishtank ELA Connections

Lesson Map

1

  • Mummies and Pyramids pp. 12 – 23

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.8

Explain why the Egyptian civilization started near the Nile River.

2

  • Mummies and Pyramids pp. 26 – 37

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.8

Describe some of the people who lived in ancient Egypt and how they spent their time.

3

  • Ancient Egypt pp. 32 – 37

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.5

    RI.1.8

Describe what a woman or man in ancient Egypt would wear and why.

4

  • Ancient Egypt — pages 38-39, 52-53

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.5

    RI.1.8

Defend if being a scribe is or is not the most challenging job in ancient Egypt.

5

  • Ancient Egypt — pages 42-43, 44-45, 48-49

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.5

    RI.1.8

Explain how life in ancient Egypt was similar to and different from your life today.

6

  • Mummies and Pyramids pp. 40 – 53

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.8

Describe some of the gods and goddesses Egyptians worshiped and why they were important.

7

  • Mummies and Pyramids pp. 55 – 61

  • Ancient Egypt pp. 18 – 19

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.8

    RI.1.9

Explain how mummies were made using details from both texts.

8

  • Mummies and Pyramids — Chapters 5 and 6

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.8

Explain why ancient Egyptians built pyramids and how they built them.

9

  • Pyramids

    RI.1.2

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.9

Identify new or different information about pyramids.

10

2 days

Writing

    W.1.1

    W.1.5

    W.1.6

    W.1.8

State an opinion about if you would or would not have wanted to live in ancient Egypt.

11

  • Mummies and Pyramids — Chapter 7 (pp. 84-91) and Chapter 8 (pp. 92-103)

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.8

Defend if the tomb raiders were or were not doing anything wrong.

12

  • Tut's Mummy... — Chapter 1

    RI.1.2

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.9

Debate if preparing a king for the Land of the Dead was a quick and sad process.

13

  • Tut's Mummy... — Chapters 2-3

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.8

    RI.1.9

Analyze how being stubborn helped Howard Carter reach his goal.

14

  • Tut's Mummy... — Chapters 4-5

    RI.1.3

    RI.1.8

    RI.1.9

Explain how people responded to the discovery of King Tut’s tomb.

15

    RI.1.7

    SL.1.1

Analyze Egyptian artwork.

16

Assessment

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4 days

Writing

    RI.1.5

    W.1.2

    W.1.6

    W.1.7

    W.1.8

    L.1.1

    L.1.2

    L.1.6

Write a class book about ancient Egypt.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.1.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.1.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.1.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 1 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

  • L.1.5 — With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

  • L.1.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).

Reading Standards for Informational Text
  • RI.1.2 — Identify the main topic and retell key details of a text.

  • RI.1.3 — Describe the connection between two individuals, events, ideas, or pieces of information in a text.

  • RI.1.5 — Know and use various text features (e.g., headings, tables of contents, glossaries, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text.

  • RI.1.7 — Use the illustrations and details in a text to describe its key ideas.

  • RI.1.8 — Identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.

  • RI.1.9 — Identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures).

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.1.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups

  • SL.1.2 — Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

  • SL.1.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.

Writing Standards
  • W.1.1 — Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.

  • W.1.2 — Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure.

  • W.1.5 — With guidance and support from adults, focus on a topic, respond to questions and suggestions from peers, and add details to strengthen writing as needed.

  • W.1.6 — With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

  • W.1.7 — Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of "how-to" books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions).

  • W.1.8 — With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

Spiral Standards

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RI.1.1

RI.1.10

RI.1.4

SL.1.3

SL.1.4

SL.1.5