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City students tour ancient Egypt
Patrick Henry Elementary School second-graders Brandon Hernandez (left) and Nicholas Fisher “mummify” balloons using glue and newspaper as they learn about burial practices in ancient Egypt. (Contributed photo by Kim Barto)
Thursday, April 26, 2012
By KIM BARTO -
Second-graders at Patrick Henry Elementary School took a virtual trip through time recently to learn about ancient Egypt.
Wearing decorated collars and headdresses in the style of Egyptian royalty, students rotated classrooms doing hands-on activities to learn about different aspects of the ancient culture. A grant from the Martinsville Schools Endowment funded the craft supplies.
Students wrote their names in Egyptian hieroglyphics, learned about ancient crops and inventions, “mummified” balloons and painted King Tut’s burial mask as they learned about Egyptian burial practices.
“They look forward to it very much. They get so excited, and these activities solidify the learning,” said teacher Lori Gongora, part of the second-grade teaching team that received the grant.
As part of the second-grade history curriculum, students learn about ancient Egypt and how it contributed to the present world in terms of architecture, inventions, the calendar and written language. The Egyptians gave us the 365-day calendar, which was necessary so they could keep track of the Nile’s annual flooding, students learned. The Egyptians depended upon the floods to irrigate their crops.
Other Egyptian inventions still in use today include the clock and paper, which was first made with papyrus.
“There’s a bunch of stuff we learned about Egypt,” second-grader Zion Thornton said, such as that “they had riches.” His favorite activity was “painting King Tut, because you get to paint.” However, the real King Tut’s mask was made out of gold, he said.
Students also learned biographical facts about King Tut. “He was the youngest king,” said Savannah Brown.
Celden Reedy learned, “He died mysteriously when he was 19.”
“It’s real cool,” Spencer Hairston said of the Egyptian projects. “I like the part about mummies.”
The Egyptian project was part of the fourth round of classroom grants awarded annually since the endowment was created, bringing the total awarded to more than $16,600. The fund was established in 2007 to support innovative, curriculum-based programs and projects in the city schools that would not otherwise be possible in the school budget.
The intent of the endowment is to build up principal over time, earning interest that is used to award grants to teachers for these projects. As the fund grows, so will the amount of interest available for grants over the years.
Funding comes entirely from community donations and fundraising events. The endowment is a component fund of the Martinsville Area Community Foundation, and donations are tax-deductible. For more information on the endowment and the programs it supports, visit www.martinsville.k12.va.us, call 403-5827, or “like” the Martinsville Schools Endowment on Facebook.
(Editor’s note: Kim Barto is community outreach and grants coordinator for the Martinsville Schools.)