Ancient Egyptian art and culture is fascinating, and it’s important to incorporate hands-on activities to help students learn about Egyptology. One of the iconic images from ancient Egypt is the scarab beetle. 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. The clay used in this activity is Crayola Model Magic in the primary colors. This fun activity will take about 40 minutes to sculpt the scarabs, and once it dries 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 many images of student examples. Additionally, there is a 2 page lesson plan that describes in detail how to create the scarabs. This art history lesson aligns with the National Fine Arts Anchor Standard 11: Relate artistic ideas and works with societal, cultural, and historical context to deepen understanding.
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 history unit.
If you would prefer to create scarabs with earthenware clay, try Ancient Egyptian Scarab Amulets
This work by Klaire Pearson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.