Egyptian Canopic Jars


I was a bad art teacher this year. I decided to let fifth grade trace their very first lesson this year. At our school, when the students get to fifth grade, they have some choices when it comes to their enrichment times. Many choose to join either the Honor Choir or Strings classes. These classes pull the students from their regular enrichment and because of the way my schedule is this usually means they are being pulled from Art. At the beginning of the year I only have a few short weeks (and even then, only once a week) where I see all the fifth graders. This causes the students that know they will be leaving to be a little apathetic, and they don’t like to try very hard at the beginning. Once those clubs start and we get our normal rhythm going tracing becomes a big no-no, but at the beginning it was a way for everyone to participate and feel confident.

All the students love studying Egypt and especially mummies. We usually draw sarcophagi or make a cartouche with the students names in them. However, this year I wanted to do something a little different.

We started with our usual lesson on Egyptian history, but this time instead of focusing on the mummy’s body, we looked at what the Egyptians did with the organs during the mummification process. I showed slideshows of photographs of the canopic jars and used information from a few different websites, like this one, to answer the students questions. The we got to work tracing. I made these handouts by combining bits of pieces of different jar templates I found online and we used the hieroglyphics sheet from EdHelper.


The students used the hieroglyphic sheet to write in the name of the organ they believed the jar would hold and then traced everything with black sharpies. We used crayola washable markers to color in the designs and I had them presorted. I was lucky this year and had a little extra money to use on supplies and I snatched up a class pack of multicultural markers to get all those fun shades of browns. Then they used crayons to add a little texture to the background. The results were great and we had a lot of fun. I was even able to display work from some students who don’t usually get to see their work up to show so everyone was happy!

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