Friday, August 26, 2011
While you're waiting for my description of our ancient Greek unit, ponder this:
Socrates was put to death for encouraging his students to seek truth and to think for themselves.
Don't get any ideas...
When the ancient Greeks discovered huge bones and skulls like the one shown here on the island of Samos, they could only imagine what creature they came from. All cultures seek to explain the origins of what they find in their environment and create elaborate mythologies to answer their unknowns. For the Greeks, these bones became the stories of the cyclops, huge one-eyed beasts, children of the gods Gaia and Uranus. Today we know these remains as those of mastodons. By studying mythology through the lens of scientific knowledge we can see, in fact, that mythologies are not flights of ancient fancy but stories based in fact, truth and evidence that can shed understanding on the worlds of these people.
Eternally fascinating, Egypt’s pyramids, hieroglyphics and mummies have captured imaginations for centuries. Egypt’s mythical characters and striking artifacts have made appearances in museums and popular media throughout the world.
In our Egypt unit students delve into the engrossing details of Egyptian culture. Riding over a framework of core learning, your child will complete an Egypt Festival project.
Your child will also explore the mummification process as reconstructive archaeologists—social scientists/historians who reenact the practices of a people to more deeply understand that culture. To make a long story very short, the process of mummification involved a salt called natron that dried out a body so that it would not decay. Our humble mummification project does not involve any of the gorier aspects of mummification that the Egyptians needed to deal with, but will allow the students to see, first-hand, the principles of mummification using common materials. Students will come to understand how this process ties into all aspects of Egyptian life, from the hieroglyphic messages students will write for their mummies’ sarcophagi to the myths that point to the cultural roots of mummification.
Through participation in the compelling activities of this unit, the students will become knowledgeable Egyptologists.