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Passage to Egypt - Books and Activities

Literature and activities to explore Egypt, ancient and modern.

After the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph were forced to flee to Egypt. Egypt is also a vibrant clutural force in Africa. Now might be an appropriate time to offer your students a Passage To Egypt.


  1. Gift of the Nile: Display a world map and with student assistance, locate Egypt in the Northeast corner of the continent of Africa; then take note of the countries and seas that border Egypt. Ask students if they've heard of the Nile River. Explain that Egypt is often called, "The Gift of The Nile." Invite students to study the map, then try to explain why Egypt was given this name. Discuss.
  2. A Country of Contrasts: From landscape to lifestyles Egypt is a country of contrast. Much of Egypt is a huge, empty desert where few people live. Cairo, the capital is a thriving modern city that has a population of approximately ten million! As the students learn about this fascinating country, record their observations on a class chart like the one shown. The diversity of Egypt will become apparent.
  3. Pleasing Pyramids: Pyramids were an important part of ancient Egypt. Top off an investigation into pyramids with a sweet, hands-on pyramid building project! Divide students into groups of four and give each group an 11x14 piece of poster paper, two boxes of sugar cubes to construct a square foundation that measures 12 cubes per side. The group then constructs four more step like layers that respectively measure 8, 6, 4, and 2 cubes per side. As students admire their work, remind them that real pyramids were built from giant stone blocks that weighed over two tons each.
  4. Mummy Cases: Have students create their own mummy cases. Fold a 8.5x11 piece of paper (letter size) and fold lengthwise. Draw half of the mummy case, and cut out. Make certain the center is on the fold, so that students have one whole case instead of two halves! Decorate appropriately. Stress the symetrical aspect of the cases. You may add sequins or other inexpensive decorations. You may also cut out a smaller mummy case from brown paper (grocery sacks) and glue onto the back of the decorated case. Curl the case and hold while the glue drys. If the base of the case is straight, and wide enough, the case will stand on its own.

Featured Books

Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile, by Tomie De Paola.
It's a new school year, and Bill and Pete are back in a new adventure. Their teacher, Ms. Ibis, is taking all the little crocodiles (and their toothbrushes) on a class trip to the Royal Museum. But who's that trying to steal the Sacred Eye of Isis? Can it be the Bad Guy? Can Bill and Pete save the day once more?

The Mystery of King Karfu, by Doug Cushman.
When King Karfu's stone chicken is stolen, detective Seymour Sleuth and his assistant, Abbott Muggs, are summoned to Egypt to investigate. The two uncover four major clues, narrow key suspects down to three, and solve the case. Watercolor illustrations of pseudorealia, crucial moments, and critical discoveries appear against the lined paper of the detective's notebook.

Tut Tut, by Jon Scieszka, Lane Smith (Illustrator)
This is a great edition in the Time Warp series, in which Joe, Sam and Fred, with the help of The Book (a magical time-travel book) have had a series of amazing adventures in the past. This time the Time Warpers find themselves in ancient Egypt dodging crocodiles on the Nile, outwitting the evil high priest in tombs and temples and searching for an escape route from the top-secret mummy-making chamber. And, as with the other titles in the series, along the way, they and we learn a little about another time and another culture. A great choice for the reluctant reader.

Don't miss these great links for activities available online.

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