Two weeks into the study of Ancient Civilizations in grade nine Social Studies at Biggar Central School 2000, Alicia Kapustinsky decided it was time for her students to “get up and move around.” In keeping with the principles of Sun West’s Personalized electronically Blended Learning (PeBL) philosophy, she initiated a project that required the students to take responsibility for their own learning by researching and then creating their own sarcophagi like those placed in the Pyramids of Ancient Egypt.
Sarcophagi, the plural of sarcophagus, were elaborately decorated stone burial boxes that contained the mummified remains of royalty in Ancient Egypt. Each student was to create their own life-size sarcophagus (with paper not stone) and that required them to gain an understanding of Ancient Egyptian religion, the process of mummification and Hieroglyphics, the form of writing used in Ancient Egypt. Student acquired this knowledge in a number of different ways as they created their sarcophagi.
Besides having to research and apply all this information, the exercise also helped students enhance their communications skills, which is another important PeBL principle. In addition, the project led to a lot of cooperation between the students that often resulted in different groups collaborating and that aligns well with PeBL. Mrs. Kapustinsky indicated that the information and skills the students acquired will be transferable learning, another important element of PeBL. She expects what they learned about Ancient Egypt through the sarcophagi project will be useful to the students as they study other mythologies in English Language Arts 9, later in the school year.
Finally, the completed sarcophagi provided an opportunity for the students to showcase their achievement. Each sarcophagus was big, colourful and stood up on its own. It was a big project and the first time that Mrs. Kapustinsky had tried it but the students learned a great deal and had a lot of fun.
Pictured above: Grade nine students at Biggar Central School 2000 created their own sarcophagi, like those placed in the Pyramids of Ancient Egypt.