Ancient Egypt: Geography

Ancient Egypt was so vast and complex. Of course, any study of this fascinating old world will prove to be vast and complex, too. Where to begin?

We chose to begin in the theater.  The home theater, that is.  Last night, we watched Cecil Demille's 1956 classic, The Ten Commandments, starring Charlton Heston and none other than Yul Brynner.  We followed up with the more recent Dreamworks animated production, The Prince of Egypt.  Both movies -- though hailing from different eras -- were equally moving and visually stunning.  A great way to hook our interest and really get us in the mood for learning more about Egypt.

Today, I spent most of my time sniffing out resources (and they are infinite!), narrowing them down to a few we can actually use without going overboard.  Loosely utilizing the Smith Life Science website as a guide, I broke our study up into subtopics which may take a day or two (or more) to get through, depending on if the kids want to linger and learn more, or move on.  Examples of these subtopics (not necessarily in order) include but are not limited to...

  • Daily Life
  • Geography
  • Hieroglyphs
  • Mummification
  • Pyramids
  • Sphinx
  • Other Activities

Today, we took a look at Egypt's geography.  As listed in the Smith resources list, we viewed "The Origin of Egyptian Civilization," parts 1, 2, & 3 (YouTube).  However, the videos tended to focus less on the beginning of Egyptian civilization, and more on the possibility Egypt has its most ancient roots in the Nubian culture.  While interesting, I didn't find the material pertinent to our focus of study.  I would've rather have devoted the time to something more immediate to the development of Egyptian civilization.  However, I don't regret sharing it with the kids.

Afterward, we took a look at a map of Ancient Egypt.  I expanded on the original map just a bit, adding an inset of the Sahara Desert and another of the continent of Africa and Egypt's location therein (Files available for download via the links below.)

We talked about the major land features pictured on the map and briefly touched on the traditional Exodus route of Moses (which is thought to have traversed the Red Sea just along the northern tip).

Next, I challenged the kids to identify major features on their own blank maps (which differ considerably from the original, but are similar enough to recognize where these features might be located).

Now that we're familiar with the basic geography of Egypt, we'll move on to exploring how Egypt's unique geography allowed this civilization to become the most enriched, advanced, and powerful civilizations in the world.

Download map files here.
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