Work like an Egyptian

Bring King Tut into your classroom and watch history come alive through art. Charlie Hackett gets messy with modroc

Bring King Tut into your classroom and watch history come alive through art. Charlie Hackett gets messy with modroc

Primary: Ages 7-11

As we move towards a creative curriculum, more schools are adopting thematic schemes of work that allow for the class teacher to link subject areas. With that in mind, I wanted to explore the topic of Ancient Egyptian death masks, so that my children could learn about an aspect of history through art.

I've taught this to Year 4 and Year 6 but I think it is suitable for all key stage 2.

Prior to this lesson the children researched Ancient Egyptian death masks, exploring patterns and texture, and drew a selection in their sketch books (they also visited the Ancient Egyptian section at the British Museum in London). They worked on their own designs by investigating materials and the processes to be used. Then, working in pairs, they used the modelling material modroc and art masks as templates to make their own masks.

For the lesson, pupils attached cardboard to form the headdress and then decorated their death masks with sequins, paint and glitter. The masks were then shared in a learning assembly with the rest of the school and their parents.

All pupils worked enthusiastically on their masks, referring closely back to their original ideas, and were excited about finishing them so that they could wear them for the class assembly. They were also able to talk about their designs and explain their authenticity. The only problem was that waiting for them to dry was torture - there were frequent cries of "Are they dry yet, Miss?"

I wanted pupils to experiment with the elements of colour, the use of pattern and texture to make their masks look authentic. I also felt it was important for the children to talk about and explain their methods and approaches to the art. The results made a fantastic and colourful 3-D display.

You know the lesson is going well when . Sam doesn't splat paint at Brandon.

You know it's time to pull the plug when . Brandon splats paint at Sam.

Charlie Hackett teaches at Shirley Warren Primary School in Southampton. She was talking to her colleague Karen Garner.

You can do it too

- Ensure the instructions for using modroc are clearly understood by the children. Explain that anyone messing about with modroc will not be allowed to carry on.

- Encourage children to think about how to use materials, and be experimental with methods and design.

- Warn the cleaner that you are using glitter.

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