Oil in Ancient Egypt (LS-IT-35)

‘Oil in Ancient Egypt: kinds and uses’ is a learning scenario developed by Raffaela Serrani as part of the Europeana DSI-4 project.

Let’s build a pyramid

This activity was implemented in an Italian 4th grade class of primary school and tackled different curricular subjects such as History, Science, Geography and English as Second Language. The scenario has been developed following the steps of a CLIL lesson and using a mobile device. Students worked in groups of four and they were very thrilled to start this activity because it was announced that they will discover Ancient Egypt civilization, used tablets and building… a pyramid!

The activity started with a brainstorming session about previous knowledge. Then students were engaged in watching videos about the most relevant aspects of the Ancient Egyptians civilization. This was a really enjoyable activity for them. Afterward, they wrote new words (pharaohs, mummy, river Nile, crops…) on Padlet. They were so involved that continued this word brainstorming spontaneously at home.

investigating oils origins

Students used Mentimer to investigate our conceptions about the use of Oil in a Mediterranean civilization like Egyptians. They were guided to find out the five oils to focus on Olive, Castor, Flaxseed, Sesame, and Moringa oil.

Each group knew that olive oil comes from pressed olives, but they have no idea about the other types of oil used by Egyptians and from which plant these were produced. We browsed the Natural History collection on Europeana platform and students found the different plants and seeds used to produce different kinds of oil. The students produced drawings of plants and seeds and filled in a form about oil uses. These images and information were glued in a 3D paper pyramid, decorated with hieroglyphs and symbols.

student searching about oil in the europeana collections
Students searching on Europeana using a tablet
Work in progress…
inspired by ancient egypt, student built their own oil pyramids

Inspired by ancient Egypt, student built their own oil pyramids!

Meanwhile, each group presented their pyramids, this activity was used as an assessment of their vocabulary and structures. At the end of the presentation, I introduced students to the food pyramid to make comparisons between past and present use of natural oils. As a result, they discovered that olive oil is very rich in Omega 3 fats and beneficial for our diet. Students were guided to create a Canva stating three reasons to use olive oil in our diet. Canva was a very interesting tool to use. I saw students completely concentrated in carrying on their final task and it was a surprise. As feedback, pupils decided to write their experience also in the school blog and I am looking forward to receiving comments about it.

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CC BY 4.0 – The featured image used to illustrate this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution. It has been created byM.A. Burnett and published by the Wellcome Collection. It has been resized and labeled to illustrate this article. To find the original image click here.

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