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Learning Experience/Unit

Egyptian Clay Scarab by ECSDM


English Language Arts (2005), Social Studies, English Language Arts (NYS P-12 Common Core), Social Studies (NYS K-12 Framework Common Core), Literacy in History/Social Studies (NYS 5-12 Common Core)

Grade Levels

Intermediate, 6th Grade


  • Students will be able to locate Egypt on a world map using the SMART Board.
  • Students will be able to define the word "Ancient"
  • Students will be able to identify an Egyptian Scarab Amulet and describe their function in the Egyptian culture.

  • Students will research Egyptian Art and complete "Do Now" sketches based on visuals from the Internet utilizing the SMART Board.
  • Students will view and discuss various types of Egyptian Scarabs while incorporating art vocabulary from the Elements of Art and Principles of Designs.
  • Students will study different patterns and designs found in Egyptian Art.
  • Students will learn about the medium clay and the process involved in completing a ceramic piece.
  • Students will recreate a three dimensional Ancient Egyptian Scarab using clay based on various "Do Now" Sketches, Internet research, and visuals provided
  • Students will study different Egyptian motifs, patterns, designs and drawings found in Egyptian Art to create a design for the top of their scarab.
  • Students will learn how to inscribe their personal drawing into their clay with a scoring tool.
  • Students will learn about hieroglyphics and inscribe their name in hieroglyphics on the bottom of their Egyptian Scarab Amulet.
  • Students will learn how to glaze their scarab after the first kiln firing.
  • Through the use of visual aides, posted instructions, and demonstrations, students will gain an understanding of what it is they will be accomplishing for the final project.


4 class days at 45 minutes per class period.


  • Instructions on how use clay
  • Instructions on Clay Scarab
  • 25lb block of clay(epending on class size)
  • Individual cut pieces of clay (depending on the student a handfull on the smaller side, appx. 1"-1 1/2" in diameter)
  • Burlap Squares (appx. size 5X5) to wedge clay and form Scarab.
  • Newspapers to cover tables
  • 6 Water Cups to place at each table
  • 6 Storage Bins for art projects at each table
  • 6 Plastic Bags for each table to place Scarab in overnight
  • 6 Storage Bins
  • Wooden Skewers (various sizes)
  • Art Smocks
  • Sketchbooks
  • Pencils
  • Glaze
  • Kiln
  • 05 and 06 Cones
  • Brushes
  • Visual on Egyptian Art
  • SMART Board, Lap top Computer, LCD Projector, Internet
  • SMART Board Software
  • Egypt SMART Board Notebook file (see below)
  • Art History Books
  • Ancient Egypt books from the school library



DAYS 1 - 4

  • Classes will begin with a five minute "Do Now." Students will sketch and discuss various types of Ancient Egyptian Scarabs, Egyptian Art, and Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. "Do Nows" will be accessed through the a SMART Board Notebook, SMART Board, LCD Projector, Lap Top and the Internet. During the activity, the teacher will walk around making positive comments with constructive suggestions and helping students with their artwork.
  • DAY 1

  • The lesson will begin with an overview on Egyptian Scarabs utilizing the SMART Board Notebook.
  • To assist in a class discussion on Ancient Egyptian Scarabs and Egyptain Art, the teacher will utilize the SMART Board Notebook. Topics of discussion include: Where is Egypt? (locate on the world map). Briefly discuss geography, climate, history, etc.
  • We will be discussing art from Ancient Egypt. What does the word "ancient" mean? What does the word "culture" mean? You have studied other ancient cultures- Greece and China. Let's look at a time line, place ancient Egypt on the time line and see what other type of art was being created during this time from these other cultures. Students will utilize the SMART Board to draw and place an Egyptian Scarab on a time line, and compare it to other different highly recognizable pieces of art from various cultures.
  • To discover what the Egyptians admired, we are going to look at their art, and specifically for this lesson, their scarabs. Briefly explain the significance of the scarab and its amulet qualities. Refer to the SMART Board Notebook on Egypt. Guide the students to make their own discoveries about the Egyptian scarabs they are viewing before providing background information. Have the students look at the shape and physical characteristics of the scarabs and have them describe what they see and how they think they were created. Define the word "motif" and explain how Egyptian motifs like gods and goddesses, as well as other prominent symbols from Egyptian culture, are inscribed on these scarabs. Refer to the SMART Board Notebook for examples on Egyptian motifs.
  • Ask students, "What do you think was the purpose for these scarabs? What do the inscribed pictures or pictographs portray?"
  • Briefly review hieroglyphics and the alphabet.
  • Studio Activity: Our studio activity will involve creating a three dimensional Egyptian Scarab using clay. Today you will create a drawing utilizing the information provided from the SMART Board as well as library books. This drawing will be inscribed on the top section of the scarab. Students will also practice drawing their name in hieroglyphics. This drawing will be inscribed on the bottom of your scarab.

  • DAY 2
  • Students will begin creating their scarabs. Each student will have a sheet of newspaper, burlap, wooden skewer, and a piece of clay.
  • We will review some vocabulary words commonly used when working with the medium of clay. (These vocabulary words include: Wedge, Score, water, and Slip.)
  • Students will begin the process of removing air bubbles from their clay pieces. This is called "wedging/kneading." Students should do this for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  • Students will then form a circle using their hands and the table. Once the circle is formed, students will then need to form their clay into an egg shape. Once the egg shape is created, students will place it on the table and cup their hand over it. Students will need to press the clay without making the top of the scarab flat. It is suggested that students just rock the clay back and forth until it spreads enough on the bottom.
  • Students will use the wooded skewer to inscribe their initials on the bottom of the clay and off to the side.
  • Students will then turn the scarab over and inscribe four lines dividing up the top of their scarab. The first two lines are like a collar on the scarab. The third line is a half circle which represents the head. The last line is straight down the middle of the scarab's back.
  • Students will wrap their clay with two wet paper towels and place them into a palstic bag closed shut.

  • DAY 3
  • Today students will utilize the wooden skewer to inscribe their name in hieroglyphics. Students will get their sample drawing from their sketchbooks. They will write their name in hieroglyphics. Again students should inscribe over their initials to make them deeper.
  • Once the name is completed, students can turn their scarab over and work on the top. The top will be inscribed with the design the students developed the first day in their sketchbook. Students will follow the same procedure for clean up as in day two.

  • DAY 4
  • Last Day! Students will have half the class period to finish inscribing their designs on the tops of their scarabs. Once the students are done, they will complete a rubric/reflection form on their Egyptian Scarab. Students will then have a group critique between two and three weeks from now. In the weeks prior to the critique, the students will first fire, then glaze, and then fire again their scarabs. When they are down, the class will discuss them and display them as a group in the building.

    • Students will complete a rubric/selfreflection form about their artwork using complete sentences.

    • Students will participate in daily discussions about Egyptian Art using appropriate vocabulary words from the Elements of Art and Principles of Design.
    • Students will present and explain the Egyptian Scarab during a class critique, and dispaly their artwork in the building as a group.
    • During the group critique, classmates will be encouraged to ask questions and make positive comments. (For example, "I like...because...")
    • Do the students understand the symbolism of the Egyptian scarab?
    • Did the Students create their own scarab?

    SMART Board

    This instructional content was intended for use with a SMART Board. Utilize the SMART Board notebook file (.xbk) during class "Do Nows" , class discussions, and visuals. The .xbk file below can only be opened with SMART Notebook software. To download this free software from the SMART Technologies website, please click here.


    Janet W. Andrews-Coyle
    Monhagen Middle School, Enlarged City School District of Middletown


    • Ancient - referring to a time long past, before the end of the Roman Empire, A.D. 476.

    • Culture - referring to a group of people with common beliefs and habits usually carried over from one generation to the next.
    • Admiration - honoring something held with great respect and wonder.
    • Amulet - something that brings good luck to the wearer.
    • Myth - legendary story usually concerned with the supernatutural; relates to world creations or events occuring in nature
    • Motif - a design element used repeatedly
    • Scarab - a dung beetle also adorned by the Egyptians
    • Wedge/Knead - to knead something, to release air bubbles from the clay.
    • Score - to inscribe into something
    • Slip - clay dilluted with water.
    • Kiln - Oven for firing clay in

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