Using Mozaik3D to bring Ancient Egypt to life – a case study
Throughout our current topic on Ancient Egypt, I have used Mozaik3D in most lessons to try to engage the children and bring the ancient world to life. For me, this has been, by far, the greatest resource during this topic for multiple reasons:
1. The range of 3D scenes has covered most lessons
2. The detail within them has captivated the children
3. The discussions we’ve had as a class from them have helped the children to see just how significant the Ancient Egyptians were as a society
After our first lesson on the Earliest Civilisations, we then moved onto the Egyptians, their timeline and their place on the world timeline. We used the ‘Legendary Ancient Empires’ scene to ascertain that Egypt’s history was more than just itself, but that of other empires too who had conquered it, helping the children to realise that there may have been significant changes throughout these thousands of years depending on who had invaded and what kinds of culture they had brought.
The next lesson focused on Ancient Egyptian achievements and we of course had to look at the pyramids (amongst other things too)! We started off by looking at the ‘Pyramid of Djoser’ to see how the first Egyptian pyramids were built. We then compared these to the Pyramids of Giza and identified the size, structures, purposes and general wonderment of them. This helped them establish what an incredible achievement these structures were for people who lived thousands of years ago. We also looked at the ‘Rosetta Stone’ to investigate Egyptian hieroglyphics and understand how exactly we came to unlock the secrets of Ancient Egypt. The ability to zoom in on the stone and the reimagining of the entire piece helped the children to understand how significant this artefact was in understanding Egypt’s history.
Following on from this, we looked at a typical Ancient Egyptian settlement, guiding us through their positions along the Nile, the types of layouts that might have been found, the materials used and various other features that provided interesting comparisons with today, such as wells and border walls. This then led us into a somewhat typical Egyptian house where we could explore the functions of different rooms and identify the similarities and differences of Egyptian homes with those of previously studied civilisations and those of today. This really helped the children to understand the different lifestyles that people in the past may have had and the reasons behind these.
A few days later, we had finished some of our English a little sooner than anticipated, so we looked at an Egyptian sailing boat to understand one of the most important means of transport that they had. We studied the Eye of Horus on the sail and what that meant, the construction of it and the potential lack of wood to build with (which would mean that these were important resources for the Egyptians), the adornments at the front and back and the type of person that this particular boat may have belonged to. This helped the children to see how significant boats were in everyday life and the skill that the Egyptians had to make them.
Next, we moved onto Egyptian society. By studying the various levels that made up Ancient Egyptian society, we began to understand how different aspects of life seemed to be more important than others in their world. We looked at an Egyptian pharaoh to see what they might look like and looked for clues that showed their power and status. We then looked at typical Egyptian clothing to identify what poorer and richer people may have worn, including jewellery and perfume. This enabled us to develop discussions about the differences between clothes back then and now and why many people wore very little clothing. Although the roles of the 3D scenes in this lesson was fairly minimal, it was certainly more interesting than just looking at a picture. We did discuss the differences in education, toys and games and the types of jobs children had to do compared to today as well.
The following lesson was a massive hit due to the 3D scene! We started to look at Ancient Egyptian religion and began focusing on their gods and goddesses to understand the nature of their religion. Using the ‘Ancient Egyptian Deities’ scene, we spent a good 30-40mins just watching each deity pop out of the wall and discuss their form, gender, appearance, what they represented and even discussed them carrying the ankh (the Egyptian symbol of life) except for Anubis who was god of the underworld, so therefore didn’t need one. The children were mesmerised and we could have continued with this for longer, but we needed to compare their gods with Roman ones to see how they differed and whether their religions changed. The 3D scene created an immense hook that had the children excited to explore more and produce detailed work that showed that they understood not just which gods and goddess they had, but the nature of the religion and its impact on daily life.
At the end of the half-term, I wanted to do an art project as I knew the children were flagging (as was I!) so we collaboratively painted a picture of Tutankhamun’s death mask in the style of Chuck Close. Before we painted though, we used the ‘Tutankhamun’s Tomb’ scene to investigate the Valley of the Kings, the tomb itself, the sarcophagus and the mummy, as well as the death mask. The children were enthralled by this and were amazed to see how many layers there were to his sarcophagus. We also used the scene to investigate the different elements of his face mask to understand why they adorned it in such a way, which helped them understand the significance of finding an artefact such as this.
The next lesson was all about mummification and the afterlife, but unfortunately there weren’t any scenes linked directly to it. What we DID use afterwards though was the scene of the ‘Temples of Abu Simbel’ which absolutely blew the children’s minds! Through this, we investigated how this magnificent site was constructed by carving into the rock, the role that it played in intimidating Ramses II’s enemies and positioning him amongst the gods plus the sheer scale of it. At one point, one of the children didn’t believe that it was all that amazing and enormous, until I gaffer-taped five one-metre sticks together to touch the school roof and we realised that the internal statues at Abu Simbel were TWICE the size of this and the outer ones were FOUR times the size! At this point he concluded that he was wrong and that this WAS indeed very impressive! The sheer detail in the inner plan of the temples also amazed the children and helped them to realise that the Egyptians were seriously skilled people. Without a shadow of a doubt, this one scene helped cement the very notion that the Ancient Egyptians WERE as significant as history tends to remember them!
Finally, we looked at the role of food and the importance of the Nile in giving life to Ancient Egypt. To do this, I used the ‘Ancient agriculture in the Nile Valley’ scene to show the flooding of the Nile, the deposit left over, the irrigation systems installed and the use of the shaduf to move water from one place to another. This visual representation was essential in allowing the children to see how advanced the Egyptians really were when it came to agriculture and how fundamental the Nile was in allowing the Ancient Egyptians to thrive as a civilisation.
The children then went on to respond to our enquiry statement about the significance of the Egyptians in history, reflecting on the 3D models that they had seen (as well as other sources) to demonstrate their understanding of the past. Without Mozaik3D though, I really would have struggled to have brought all of these lessons, concepts and history to life, all of which stopping the children from truly understanding the significance of Ancient Egypt.