Teachers may request their students make a model of a pyramid in order to advance the study of a particular time period or civilisation. The Aztecs and Mayans of Mesomerica built pyramids, as did the ancient Egyptians. Egyptians used pyramids as tombs for their pharaohs, while Aztecs and Mayans used pyramids as religious temples or shrines. There are many ways to create a pyramid for a school project.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Cardboard or poster board
- Construction paper
Decide which pyramid you intend to re-create. If you are studying ancient Egypt, then your teacher has probably required you to make a model of one of the Egyptian pyramids. Technically, you have many to choose from: any of the three pyramids at Giza, plus several more at Saqqara. However, the Great Pyramid at Giza, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu, is the most visible and well-known of the Egyptian pyramids, and likely the most recognisable to your classmates.
Use a piece of cardboard or construction paper as the base of your pyramid; this will serve as the sand on which your pyramid will stand. Keep in mind that the Pyramid of Khufu has a nine-acre base and a height of 481 feet at a 51-degree slope. Designate a fraction of an inch for every foot that the actual pyramid stands.
Cut out three triangular pieces of cardboard or poster board to serve as the pyramid's sides. Fold a flap on the longest end of each triangular piece and glue this securely to your base.
Use as little scotch tape as possible to seal the edges of the three triangular pieces together until they meet at the pyramid's tip. Another option is to glue the pieces together.
Paint the pyramid a yellow-orange colour to represent the actual Great Pyramid.
Choose the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan, one of the best-known of the Aztec pyramids. The pyramid stands at 215 feet with four layers ascending to a peak.
Cut a piece of cardboard to serve as the base.
Cut 12 pieces of cardboard for the four layers of each side. Fold a tab at the bottom and top of each piece.
Glue or tape the tabs of the first layer to the base. Then glue the tabs of each succeeding layer to the upper tab of the pieces before. Position the lower tabs slightly inside the borders to the upper tabs below to create layers.
Cut a small piece of cardboard to serve as the top of the pyramid. Secure it with tape or glue. Paint the pyramid grey and the base green.
Tips and warnings
- You can choose to cover the pyramid in papier-mache for a smoother appearance.
- Label the pyramid and include some of its historical dimensions.
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- University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies: Making an Aztec Step Pyramid
- Aztec-History: Aztec Temples
- Minnesota State University at Mankato: The Pyramids of Giza
- Creighton University: The Great Pyramid of Khufu
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heilbrunn Time line of Art History: Teotihuacan: Pyramids of the Sun and Moon