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Egypt Comes To Life
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Natalie Thompson, right, dressed in Egyptian garb, chats with her sixth grade classmates in Stacie Damatos class from left, Maya Lyda, Russell Pabalan, and Maria Uribe about their Egyptian artifacts at Cloverland Elementary School on Feb. 16. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader

While ancient Egypt existed thousands of years ago, Cloverland Elementary School sixth graders brought the relics and artifacts from the reign of the pharaohs to life by recreating them and exhibiting them in their classroom “museums.”
The project was the culmination of the sixth graders’ Social Studies unit on ancient Egypt. Students in Stacie Damato’s, Susan Weaver’s, and Neil Jackson’s classes each hosted their own Egyptian Museum full of the “priceless” artifacts made by the students on Feb. 16. Along with the replica items, the students also wrote research papers that complemented their artifacts. Classes at other grade levels were invited to tour the museums and were encouraged to ask the sixth graders about their museum pieces.
“It brings the ancient Egypt life – it brings it to life for them,” Damato said, adding that the students learned how people lived back then.
She reported that the students were given a month-and-a-half to do the project at home after they had first studied the unit.
“It’s a great family project,” Damato said. “Most of them need help with these (artifacts). They’re very creative.”
Students incorporated many easy-to-find elements to craft their “artifacts,” such as a golden bust of Queen Nefertiti made by Maya Lyda.
“I got a Styrofoam head, got blue paper and formed it into a hat, then painted the eyes and face and put on some earrings,’” she reported.
Kylee Black said that it took about 10 days to do her project, the Sphinx of Giza. She explained that she took a round cardboard container, connected it to crumpled newspaper, used the papier-mâché technique, then spray painted it, and hand-painted the features.
Jesse Chavez actually dressed as his artifact. He became the jackal-headed ancient Egyptian god of the afterlife known as Anubis. His Anubis head was made out of chicken wire, papier-mâché and spray paint. He said it took about a week to make the head because of the time the papier-mâché took to dry.
Chavez said that in ancient Egypt it was believed that Anubis weighed hearts of the dead and if the person’s heart was heavier than a feather then they would have a bad afterlife. As a prop, he had a colored paper human heart, which he weighed on a balance scale that had a feather on one side.
Joey Navarro made a burial mask of the boy king, King Tut, using a large-size Barbie head, modeling clay, cardboard, aluminum foil, and paint.
Some of the other student projects included canopic jars, which held the organs of the dead, sarcophaguses, pyramids, wall murals, musical instruments, clothing, and more.