Carve Like An Egyptian
grade: 1st & 2nd
What: Artists will carve and paint their very own Egyptian tablet.
How: The base of the tablet will be plaster of paris set in the bottom of a
cardboard shoebox. The artists will carve their design into the almost-
hardened plaster tablet. They will the then paint with watercolors over top of the
carvings to create a relief tablet that resembles wall reliefs.
Why: Artists are going to create a wall relief-like tablet that echo’s the
insides of Ancient Egyptian tombs. This will not only introduce an ancient form
of art and expression but it will also get the artists acquainted with alternative
materials that they might not already be comfortable with.
Academic Content Standards:
Students will be given the opportunity to:
Historical, Cultural and Social Contexts
Students understand the impact of visual art on the history, culture and
society from which it emanates. They understand the cultural, social and
political forces that, in turn, shape visual art communication and expression.
Students identify the significant contributions of visual artists to cultural heritage.
They analyze the historical, cultural, social and political contexts that influence
the function and role of visual art in the lives of people.
Benchmark A: Identify art forms, visual ideas and images and
describe how they are influenced by time and culture.
2. Observe different styles of art from selected cultures and
point out how artists use lines, shapes, colors and textures.
2. Use historical artworks such as paintings, photographs
and drawings to answer questions about daily life in the past.
Creative Expression and Communication
Students create artworks that demonstrate understanding of materials,
processes, tools, media, techniques and available technology. They understand
how to use art elements, principles and images to communicate their ideas in a
variety of visual forms.
Benchmark A: Demonstrate knowledge of visual art materials,
tools, techniques and processes by using them expressively and
1. Demonstrate increasing skill in the use of art tools and
Benchmark B: Use the elements and principles of art as a means
to express ideas, emotions and experiences.
3. Use selected art elements and principles to express a
personal response to the world.
1. To become somewhat familiar with Egyptian culture and how they used the
materials that they had.
2. To introduce a new type of material, an alternative to paper.
3. To experiment with a type of relief that is much safer for the age group than
say a woodcut.
This lesson incorporates the content standards for Social Studies and a social
studies teacher would be able to tie in this lesson with their curriculum on other cultures.
Students use materials drawn from the diversity of human experience to analyze and
interpret significant events, patterns and themes.
C. Compare daily life in the past and present demonstrating an understanding
that while basic human needs remain the same, they are met in different ways in
different times and places.
5lbs. of plaster of paris
7 shoeboxes ( or one for every 2 artists)
Small cups for brushes (enough for each artist)
Raisins (enough for each artist)
1. Mix plaster of paris. Pour into the tops and bottoms of the shoeboxes to let
set over night.
2. Cover tables with newspaper and set out watercolor palettes.
3. Decorate room. Paint life size mummy coffin and Egypt.
Class will start off with us introducing Egypt and where it is located. We will have
the baby swimming pool filled with sand so they can feel what it would have been like to
walk around in Egypt. Sara will then go over ancient hieroglyphics and explain what
they were used for. And her lesson will be the prequel to the carving lesson. We will
also have raisins for the kids to eat to symbolize dates that they used to eat in Egypt.
Directions or Process:
9:45am-9:50am: Introduce project and explain the use of cave carvings inside ancient
Egyptian tombs. Have plenty of example images to show what kind of things they used
to put on the walls.
9:50am-10:00am: Demo how to use the end of your paintbrush to carve into the plaster
and then pass out the hardened pieces of plaster to each artist. Make sure to express
not to blow the dust off their piece because that will fill the room with dust and make it
uncomfortable for everyone.
10:00am-10:25am: Work time. Have artists draw on their plaster and then carve into it.
Have them tell a story through images just like the Egyptians did. Once they have
gotten their piece (covered edge to edge!) they can begin painting. Walk around and
ask each artist what story they are trying to tell.
10:25am-Parent pick-up: Have children start to clean up and wash their hands. Tell
them to leave their piece on the table so we can move them upstairs accordingly.