Giant Classroom Ancient Egypt Timeline Activity Cards w/ Discussion Questions by Miss Middle School Teacher
This is a great activity to use with students at the conclusion of a unit on ancient Egypt OR to use as an anchor activity throughout the unit. Students work together to post several events from ancient Egypt that contributed to its rise and fall as an empire. Their goal is to make a GIANT classroom wall timeline of ancient Egypt. This is a great way for students to make inferences, observe themes, and note events that promoted Egypt's success as well as those that led to Egypt's downfall. Students also are better able to visualize/understand B.C./B.C.E. times.
Before starting this activity, I post the interval years along my entire classroom wall (ex. 3000 BC, 2500 BC, 2000 BC, etc.). I am sure to evenly space them out and have them take up the entire wall (left to right). When students come in, I have them get into groups of 3-4. I then hand out four or five Egyptian event timeline cards that will eventually be posted on the classroom wall. I am sure to mix them up and hand them out randomly! I give them a few minutes to read through their event and try to figure out where it should be placed on the wall timeline.
Then, we begin posting the events! We take it one event at a time and the class works together to help each other out. I usually begin with, "Who thinks they have the very first event?" "Does anyone have an event before Jimmy's?" Once one event is posted and discussed, we continue: "Who thinks they have the next event?" etc. As events are posted we discuss what they might mean for Egypt's future and work to accurately place them on the wall. My 6th graders are always highly engaged during this activity!
Once everything is posted, we complete a written reflection individually and then use our written responses to have a classroom discussion. The reflection questions ask students to decide which 3 events were most important in contributing to the rise of Egypt as an empire and which 3 events were most important in contributing to the fall of Egypt as an empire. Students must work to JUSTIFY their opinions with evidence from the timeline and background knowledge. They also decide which event they found the most surprising/interesting and why, and more. The class discussion often becomes a friendly debate over which events were the most important and why. Students love to make their arguments in order to try to convince their classmates. Critical thinking and evidence-based persuasion become the focus.
This set includes: a master teacher copy of the timeline events with teacher notes on how they're used, a set of the GIANT timeline event cards, and a copy of the student reflection questions in a student-friendly format.