Unlike the letters of the English alphabet, hieroglyphics are pictorial images that were used by the ancient Egyptians. This interesting form of handwriting that consists of over 2,000 symbols often fascinates kids and piques their interest in learning more about Egyptian culture and language. Plan one or more hieroglyphic activities for your students to enhance their learning experience.
Learning to identify hieroglyphics is the first step in gaining a true understanding of the language. Create, print and distribute a sheet that contains several hieroglyphs and their meanings in English. Have the children study them. Quiz them on their meanings by drawing them on the chalkboard or holding up flashcards with the symbols on them. Distribute 20 index cards to each student. Have them copy one symbol on the front of each card and write the meaning of the symbol on the back. Have your students work with their flashcards in pairs to learn the hieroglyph meanings.
Once your students have mastered the basic understanding of hieroglyphics and how they are used, have them invoke their creative powers to create their own hieroglyphic language. Assign each student a set of 10 to 15 different words. Ask them to create a specific symbol to represent each word, and draw it beside the word on a worksheet. Gather all of the worksheets and use them to create a hieroglyphic class dictionary. Distribute a copy of this guide, and ask the children to use the made-up hieroglyphs to write sentences.
Rather than just learning and studying hieroglyphics, let your students create their own hieroglyphs in a three-dimensional way. Distribute blocks of modelling clay to each student. Have them work with the clay to create their own stone tablets. Give each child their own orange wood stick to use to draw hieroglyphic figures in the clay. Allow each tablet to dry, and place them on display in the classroom or in a central part of the school for others to see.
Help your students gain an understanding of how the ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphics to communicate with one another. Distribute a sheet of hieroglyphs that includes enough figures that each child can use them to write a simple letter to another student. Have each student compose a letter using only hieroglyphics. Redistribute the letters amongst the class, and ask that the recipient decipher the letter and read it aloud to the class when done.