This past year I did a new Egyptian gods project, shared with me by my fab co-Humanities teacher. It was such a great way to combine art, mythology, creativity, writing, AND presentation skills! To teach the Egyptian gods, I put the students in partners and each group was assigned a god they had to research. With their research, they create an artistic representation of the god based the Egyptian canon then they had to write a hymn to the god and then present it to the class.
The Visual God
The students had to follow the canon of art from Ancient Egypt and were given dimension guidelines that their gods that to meet. They had to created a gridded sheet and draw their god meeting those dimensions. For example, we told the students their gods had to be at least 9″ tall with their waist at 1.5″ and shoulders 2.5″. They had to make a grid which each square measuring ½”.
After they drew their god, it was time to decorate! They had to follow conventions for how that god actually looked in Ancient Egyptian art but any material not part of the god’s body had to be from a material different from the gridded paper (i.e glitter, feathers, construction paper, tissue paper, fabric, etc.). They students REALLY got into this part and some of their gods are exquisite!
Read more Student Series! Egyptian Goddesses
In addition to the visual god, the students had to create a hymn to the god that explained aspects of the god’s protection/jurisdiction/role in Ancient Egyptian religion. They had to make the hymn 3 stanzas with 5 lines each and (obviously) could not copy an already existing hymn. Some of my students were incredibly clever with their rhymes and their explanation of the gods. They even wrote in some bad mouthing of other gods that were in competition with their deity. 🙂 These were hilarious! Here’s a sample of a great one:
Hail to you Anubis,
God of the afterlife,
protector of the dead
with the body of a man
and a jackal for a head.
Wearing black to symbolize decay
punished those who offended the gods, the ones who betray.
After we are finished with the visual god and the hymn (about three 50-minute class periods) they had to present their god to the class and read out the hymn as the students jot down important notes about them. I told the students that they would see some of the gods appear again in the Book of the Dead activity so they needed to pay close attention.