By LISA WHALEY
General Manager & Editor
The pyramids of Giza rose tall and daunting last week as Grandview students took a trip down the Nile – all without ever leaving their classroom.
But for these 6th grade students, under the director of Grandview 5th and 6th grade teacher Kandi Fox, this lesson was about more than uncovering an ancient culture. It was also about exploring each student’s special interests, all within the framework of the time of great pharaohs, breathtaking monuments and mystifying mummies.
“Our teacher told us we could choose what project we wanted to do,” explained Zoe Sanders, detailing the class’ “Take a Walk Through Egypt” lesson that called for students to immerse themselves into a culture that brought the world everything from hieroglyphs to the Sphinx.
For a girl who loves sports of all kind, the lure of chariot races was too strong to resist. “I thought, ‘Hey, a large chariot sounds good,’” Zoe said.
She and her father, Pete Sanders, set to work, and soon the Grandview classroom was graced with an almost life-sized replica of a authentic Egyptian chariot.
For Caroline Argueta, the ancient call came from another source.
“When I was little, I wanted to be a detective, and I always wanted to be in fashion,” Caroline said with an impish grin. “So I decided to be a fashionable detective.”
Her curiosity was piqued by the idea of what ancient Egyptians wore and why they wore it. So she proceeded to create a storyboard illustrating the various fashions from pharaohs to artisans to the working class. She was fascinated, she said, by the fact that status dictated the type of clothing someone was allowed to wear.
According to their teacher, Zoe and Caroline were just two examples of how her students went beyond class requirements to create something really amazing.
“This was the first year I’ve done this with the 6th graders,” Fox said. “They just went over the top. And they loved it.”
The students’ enthusiasm also helped make the time travel more realistic, with intriguing details uncovered along the way .
Daisy Dowling used her love of language to crack the hieroglyphic code for fellow students.
“I’ll be honest, I like to use words that other people don’t know,” Daisy said with a smile, holding the Egyptian dictionary she had created. She was especially fascinated to find Egyptian words, like “joggled,” that are still used today.
Ronnie Bangham was lured by the idea of an Egyptian boat, and was determined to create one.
“I like flying and swimming,” he said matter-of-factly, explaining his choice. Once immersed in the project, he was delighted to find out more about the culture.
Ronnie learned that, “Egyptians would sometimes have blueprints to help them build a boat for the afterlife,” he said.
For Lynn Kilgore, however, chariots and boats had little appeal, and fashion and words did not entice. But this animal lover’s imagination was caught and held by the idea of ancient Egypt’s ceremonial masks – creating for herself and her class an image of Anubis, Egyptian god of mummification and the afterlife.
While Anubis is represented by a jackal or wild dog-like figure, and Lynn only has a cat, she still felt a connection. Cat and jackal just seemed to fit.
“She is a trouble maker,” Lynn said of her cat, as she held up her Anubis mask.