Ancient Egypt:
Connecting Literature and Geography

Linda Hay School Librarian Academy School in Brattleboro, Vermont

LESSON PLAN: Grades 1-3. adaptable up to grade 6

Introduction: This lesson is part of my "Wide World of Stories" curriculum which exposes children to a variety of cultures and places through literature. Students learn to find the geographic concepts in different types of library resource materials. Sessions evolve to fit different grade level classes.

Objectives: The students will:

(1) learn to get information from and evaluate several different formats and genres of library materials, including written and audiovisual materials, and fiction and nonfiction, 

(2) learn or review basic map components, and

(3) learn to map the geographical information mentioned in stories and documentaries about ancient Egypt.

Geographic Themes: Location, place, and regions

Geography Standards: Number 1 (using maps), 2 (using mental maps), 3 (analyzing spatial patterns on a map), 4 (physical and human characteristics of a place), and 5 (physical and human characteristics of a region)

Time: 1/2 hour, once a week for 4 weeks


(1) Three outline maps for each student: the world, the countries of Africa, the Ancient Egypt map shown below

(2) Overhead transparencies of the three outline maps 

(3) Globe and a set of classroom atlases

(4) Overhead projector, transparencies, and markers 

(5) Filmstrip projector

(6) Pencils, crayons, glue, and scissors

(7) Books: Gift of the Nile, Jan M. Mike, Troll Press, 1993, and Tutankhamen's Gift, Robert Sabuda, Macmillan Publishing, 1994. Filmstrip: Treasure of the Boy King Tut, Educational Dimensions Group,. 1978.


Week I: Learning From Literature

(I) Begin by brainstorming: "What do we already know about ancient Egypt?" Use an overhead transparency to record the comments with words and pictograms.

(2) Locate Egypt on a map of Africa. Color it in on the overhead transparency and then have students color it in on their own Africa outline map.

(3) Locate Egypt on a world map. Have students color it in on their world outline map. Locate Egypt on a globe. Have students notice that the shape of Egypt stays the same even though the map scales change.

(4) Discuss learning from literature. Have the students listen for information about ancient Egypt as you read aloud the legend Gift of the Nile. After listening ask, "What more have we learned about Egypt? Was anything we thought we knew shown not to be true?"

(5) Start on the first segment of the map project. Introduce or remind students about the basic components of maps as t11ey put what they've learned on their Ancient Egypt outline map. Have students put on the map title, draw in a compass to show t11e map's orientation, and cut and paste the place names mentioned: Nile River, Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, and Nile Valley.

Week 2: Learning From Biography

(1) Explain the term biography. Read aloud Tutankhamen's Gift.

(2) Add new facts about Egypt to the brainstorming transparency from the previous week.

(3) Continue work on the Ancient Egypt map. Add the titles for the Sahara Desert, and the symbols and names for Giza (pyramid) and Valley of the Kings (head of Tut).

Week 3: Learning from Audio-Visuals

(I) Introduce the title King Tut. Ask, "What do you expect to learn from this filmstrip?" Record their ideas on a transparency. 

(2) Watch the first part of the filmstrip. Ask for facts they remember, and compare them with the brainstorming ideas.

(3) Finish the map project. Construct the key, and color in the land uses: blue for water, yellow desert, and green farm land.

Week 4: Conclusion

(1) Watch the second part of the filmstrip.

(2) Summarize what was learned from the various sources by reviewing all the transparencies. Compare and discuss.


(Note: double the size of this handout before using.)

Printable Word File of Handout