Teach Ancient Egypt at Primary Level? Pharaoh Party Games is a fun activity by Glenn Carter that will engage children whilst tackling historical objectives. It builds on pupils prior learning and introduces some new knowledge to give them a better understanding of Ancient Egyptian Culture. Glenn is a member of the Historical Association’s Primary Education Committee and an administrator of our Facebook page. Over to Glenn for details of the activity…
Whilst planning a scheme of work for the Ancient Egyptians, I followed a structure that felt like it needed to culminate in something that included a few facets of the teaching that was to be done. We were going to be looking at elements such as housing, achievements, social status, food and drink, belief systems and entertainment. I wanted something that was fun, engaging and could demonstrate what they had learnt. It was then that I came up with the idea: why not plan a Pharaoh’s party?
This would be the ideal opportunity and activity that would incorporate so many of the aspects that we were about to teach. But it needed a structure. The children would work in small groups or pairs and have a few essential items that they HAD to purchase. There would be a number of different categories to choose items from, costing varying amounts and each item would give them some sort of rating: power, food or entertainment. Different items would give different ratings: higher priced items would give higher ratings. The children would then have to decide what they wanted, as Pharaoh, to be known for: as a culinary genius? A Pharaoh powerhouse? Or an entertainment master?
At this point I decided to give them a budget. We would build upon the idea that bartering was the main form of trading or using weights called ‘debens’. I played around with a few different amounts but found that 40 would be ideal. Having bought all of my essential items, I then had a few debens spare, which meant that I could boost my ratings whichever way I wanted. My food and drink rating was pretty good and I do love food, so I chose to bolster it even more to achieve the highest I possibly could. This would be a feast for the ages!
The beauty of this activity was that there was no right or wrong, so long as they stuck to the budgetary constraints and bought all of the essential items. If they wanted to buy all of the lowest priced essentials so that they could buy additional slaves to boost their power rating, then why not? Perhaps they wanted a full complement of musicians to boost their entertainment rating? Go for it!
To make things easier, I designed a budget sheet that helped them record their purchases as they went and logged their ratings too, making it easier to tally up at the end. After everybody had tallied up, we would then see who had the highest of each rating, or who decided to keep things fairly balanced to be a great overall host. It would be interesting because no two parties would be identical.
The children would learn so much through this and be able to recall lots of their previous learning, telling me which kinds of instruments they played, the types of food they ate and some of the social norms of the Ancient Egyptians. It would consolidate learning in a fun way that also brought in wider skills such as budgeting and planning. The only problem now is, is that I actually want to set this party up in the classroom!
For Glenn’s activity, please click the link below. The resource in in pdf format.
Like Glenn’s activity? He has plenty of other ideas and activities which are shared at CPD events. Click here to see details of a Developing Primary History Course that he is leading with Leigh Brothwell on 21st May 2019 in Manchester.