Lesson 4: Ancient Egypt

Getting Started

In this lesson, you'll read about the history of ancient Egypt from its earliest beginnings through the end of the New Kingdom. You'll also continue to work on your timeline and will have the opportunity to try your hand at art in an Egyptian style.

Stuff You Need

  • Ancient Civilizations by Joseph Fullman (DK Eyewitness)
  • Ancient Civilization Timeline Cards
  • colored pencils
  • crayons, markers, or watercolors
  • pencil and pen
  • scissors
  • sketch book
  • tape, glue stick, or glue
  • World History Timeline

Ideas to Think About

  • How were the cultures of the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia and Egypt similar to or different from one another?
  • How did the environment (landforms, locations, natural resources, and climate) influence the ancient peoples of Mesopotamia and Egypt?
  • How does religion influence political and social systems in different cultures?
  • How are the values and beliefs of various cultures reflected in their art and literature?

Things to Know

  • Upper Egypt in the south and Lower Egypt in the north were united around 3100 BC.
  • Historians describe Egypt's history as Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and New Kingdom with intermediate periods separating these times of greater stability.
  • Hatshepsut was a female regent who was declared king and ruled as a pharaoh for more than 20 years.
  • Ramses II (sometimes spelled Ramesses) was one of the longest-reigning rulers of ancient Egypt and is well-known for his many building projects and wars. He established a new capital of Egypt, Per Ramses.
  • The Nubian civilization in northeastern Africa had strong ties to Egypt through trade and invasion. The Nubians conquered Egypt in 730 BC.


  • Analyze the development of early civilizations in Africa, c. 8000 BCE to 600 CE. (SS)
  • Trace the development and assess the achievements in the arts, sciences, and technology of early river civilizations, including those around the Nile (Egypt) and Tigris-Euphrates (Mesopotamia) rivers. (SS)
  • Analyze the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the early civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. (SS)
  • Locate and describe the major river systems and discuss the physical settings that supported permanent settlement and early civilizations. (SS)
  • Trace the development of agricultural techniques that permitted the production of economic surplus and the emergence of cities as centers of culture and power. (SS)
  • Understand the relationship between religion and the social and political order in Mesopotamia and Egypt. (SS)
  • Discuss the main features of Egyptian art and architecture. (SS)
  • Describe the role of Egyptian trade in the eastern Mediterranean and Nile valley. (SS)
  • Understand the significance of Queen Hatshepsut and Ramses the Great. (SS)

Introducing the Lesson

In this lesson, your child will explore the history of ancient Egypt and its rulers. She will explore the geography of ancient Egypt, continue working on her timeline, summarize the lives of several Egyptian rulers, and use Egyptian artwork as inspiration for a family portrait.
Reading and Questions
Materials: Ancient Civilizations by Joseph Fullman (DK Eyewitness)
Today you will read pages 12-13 and pages 24-25 of Ancient Civilizations. This reading will provide an overview of ancient Egypt's history from its earliest days to the end of the New Kingdom as well as its interaction with the Nubian civilization.

Pre-read the selection before answering questions 1-3 below. Answer these questions after you have finished pre-reading but before you have read the material thoroughly.

After completing the pre-reading, read pages 12-13 and 24-25 carefully. You may also find it helpful to write a short summary of each 2-page section as you read. Then, answer question 4.
  1. Based on your pre-reading, what do you think this reading selection is going to be about? What major topics will be covered?
    Answers will vary.
  2. What do you already know about those topics? Take 2-3 minutes to write down everything that you can think of related to those topics. There's no need to write in complete sentences or to refer back to the text — just jot down the things that you already know.
    Answers will vary.
  3. Now that you've figured out what the reading will be about and written down what you already know about the reading's topics, what questions do you still have about those topics? What are you wondering about or hoping you'll learn from this reading?
    Answers will vary.
  4. Did you find the answers to any of your questions from Question #3 above? If so, write the answers below.
    Answers will vary.