Ancient Egyptian art and culture is fascinating, and it’s important to incorporate hands-on activities when students learn about Egyptology and world history. The scarab beetle is one of the most iconic ancient Egyptian images, and it is fun to make! Scarab amulets were worn for good luck and protection in ancient Egyptian times, and they’re pretty easy to create with air dry clay for teachers who do not have access to a kiln. It will take about 40 minutes to sculpt the scarabs, and once they dry, the students will be able to string their scarab to create wearable necklaces. This downloadable zip file includes the 28 slide “Spectacular Scarabs” PowerPoint. This PowerPoint begins with images of ancient Egyptian scarab amulets, a photo of an actual scarab beetle, and an image the Egyptian sun God Khephri. The are step-by-step directions with photographs and text describing how to create successful scarabs. The presentation concludes with several images of student examples. Additionally, there is a 2 page lesson plan that describes in detail how to create the scarabs. Because this activity is especially designed to use with air dry clay, it doesn’t need to be painted and it can be done in any classroom. (Even though this project is recommended for elementary school, many adults enjoy creating the scarab amulets for their own jewelry-making too!) The art-making directions are extremely easy to use so non-art teachers can use this assignment as part of an Egyptian or ancient history unit.
Anchor Standard 11: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical
context to deepen understanding.
Objective: Students will be able to identify Egyptian scarabs and describe the purpose of
amulets in the ancient Egyptian culture.
Activity: Students make 3-D scarab amulets.
Materials: Crayola Model Magic air dry clay (about .5 oz. per student) or Sargent Sculpt-It air
hardening clay, 2-3” long pieces of bendable wire, wooden pencils, and 3x3” pieces of paper
Time: 1 Class (Plus a few minutes of the next class)