Teaching Ancient Egypt at KS2 and other ancient civilizations

KS2 Ancient Egypt Outstanding Lessons

March 2018:  the completely revised medium-term planner for Ancient Egypt is now uploaded featuring not only your favourite outstanding lessons in a carefully sequenced series of enquiries but also showing how to blend in a study of the other ancient civilizations in a meaningful way.

Ancient Egypt has always been a really popular history topic to teach at Key Stage 2 and one best-suited to Year 3 and 4 pupils. It provides a marvellous context for exploring the characteristic features of one of the most colourful of ancient civilizations. Until 2014 there was no obligation to compare Ancient Egypt with any other ancient society. Now pupils are expected to know about ancient Sumer, the Indus Valley, and The Shang dynasty. Whilst welcoming this broader approach, we do need to maintain a sense of proportion. Just how comparative a view can very young children have when their sense of chronology is still so undeveloped? My preference is still to teach Ancient Egypt using 5 key enquiry questions with just one question which asks pupils to investigate whether there were any other civilizations like Egypt’s at that time, what they had in common and how can we possibly know?

Featured below are the lessons that flow from the main Ancient Egypt enquiries.

The opening of Tutankhamun’s tomb KS2: KQ3 part 1

The opening of Tutankhamun's tomb: a reconstruction relay

The activity that forms the basis of this lesson is called reconstruction relay. It is GUARANTEED to enthuse even the most recalcitrant Y4 boy! Pupils have to travel down a tunnel of tables to see pictures of the...
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So who did build the pyramids? KQ3 part 2

This active lesson for Year 4 has been adapted from the one featured in the QCA Teacher Assessment Activities for history at Key Stage 2 (2006).   It involves pupils seeking out clues as in a treasure hunt before researching, as a team, the evidence for...
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Using evidence of Life in Ancient Egypt KS2: KQ4

Crimewatch Ancient Egypt: Tomb Robbers

This fun activity is a brilliant way of developing pupils’ deductive thinking skills in a realistic context.  Pupils are cast in the role of police detectives trying to solve a 3,000 year old crime, one with a difference.  This...

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Embalming the dead in Ancient Egypt KS2: KQ5

Helping the Hopeless Embalmer

This really fun lesson, in the style of 'mantle of expert', asks the children to help the Hopeless Embalmer whose boss has left him in charge of preparing the bodies for the afterlife.  Unfortunately, the embalmer is slow to understand and needs...
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Ancient Egyptian after-life lesson KS2: KQ5 part 2

Understanding the Book of the Dead: from page to stage

Using simple drama techniques to make a very old document come alive, this lesson involves pupils becoming the characters in the pictures of the Book of the Dead so that they can personalise what...

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