Saturday, 1 December 2012

Egyptian art and science

We have been doing a lot of follow up work from the Egyptian museum workshop we did recently. We played a really good role play game (instigated by Harry) where I had to be the Egyptian asking the embalmer and pyramid builder to build my tomb ready for my death. Harry remembered everything from the workshop really well and we built a few lego and brick pyramids as part of this game, becoming very ornate with archways to get in. 

I printed out some colouring pages for Harry. We coloured them together then he cut them out and stuck them to a big sheet of paper. He added triangles for pyramids and a river Nile complete with crocodile!

I found a really good book in my storage box that I had forgotten buying a while ago. It has information about pyramids, ancient Egypt and mummies, together with projects and experiments. We have been using it this week.

We had a great time thinking about friction and how the Ancient Egyptians would have moved the huge stones used to build the pyramids without modern machinery. Harry tried to pull his welly along the kitchen floor floor and it dragged quite a lot. We then put pens and pencils on the floor and pulled the welly again to see if it was easier (it was, but I must apologise for the recycling and towels in the corner of the photo!). This represented the wooden rollers the Egyptians used to move materials. Harry then continued playing with the welly on a rope by using it as a pulley to lift bricks.

We built pyramids and cubes using straws and blu-tac. These were Harry's efforts. I just noticed that the boys are still in their pyjamas - there will probably be quite a few pyjama shots as we often start work straight after breakfast and they get dressed once we have finished something and are ready for a snack.

He then tried to squash the shapes to see which was the strongest. The pyramid was stronger by far and we talked about how this has helped the pyramids to stay standing for so long.

He also showed some good creativity by using the straws to make a monster nose and hoses for his fire helmet (not sure he would have got away with this extra part at school!)

We have also started some experiments today that we need to follow up over the next week or so. 

We have placed three slices of bread into bags, to see how different factors affect decay. One bag contains plain bread, one is dry toasted bread (the Egyptians used salt to dry out mummies) and one is bread spread with antiseptic cream (the Egyptians used oiled bandages to wrap the mummies). We will be looking at these to see which one decays quickest.

We have also set a paperclip inside a bowl of sodium carbonate solution to see if crystals will grow as the water evaporates. This is to show how pyramid shapes might form in nature as some of the crystals should be pyramid shaped. 

I will post an update on our bread and crystals when something is happening with them!

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