Some Bellefonte Area Middle School students took a step back in time that dated as far back as 3050 B.C.
It was for a project on ancient Egypt for Jennifer Kerr’s sixth-grade social studies class.
The six-week course study ended Wednesday with an Ancient Egypt Museum that allowed 116 sixth-grade students in four classes to showcase work that highlighted the region’s history.
“We’ve been working on this for weeks by reading text books and historical fiction, and each student selected an area of study, and did research online, at the library and at home to fulfill their team projects,” Kerr said. “It’s an all-encompassing project that lets them learn about the history and aspects of ancient Egypt, but also gives them the ability to write and speak, and learn to work as a team.”
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The student museum was held in the middle school library, and was open to students’ families.
The school walls leading to the library were covered with sarcophagi that students made from large pieces of construction paper.
Walls in the library were filled with student-made death masks — a ritual mask used by ancient Egyptians of a person’s face after his or her death.
Students said they made the masks from plaster for the face, and painted tissue paper for the headdress.
“It was so fun because we could be hands on and learn a lot at the same time,” Brett Delaney said.
He was on a team with classmates David Bitner and Wolfgang Parker, who focused on food.
“There were some similarities and differences to what they eat now and how they prepare food, like they didn’t use a grill back then,” Brett said. “They ate a lot of fish, duck, goat and beef and veggies, but their main food was bread, and they drank a lot of beer, because water from the Nile River wasn’t sanitary enough to drink.”
As guests walked by their presentation, the trio rattled off what they called “fun facts” regarding ancient Egyptian foods.
It was similar at other stations, where students focused on medicine, hieroglyphs and architecture like the pyramids and sphinx.
“The kids were so invested in the project because they found a topic that was interesting to them,” Kerr said.
This was the first year Kerr’s class studied ancient Egypt.
She said her class usually participates in a similar project about American history.