Egypt's Golden Empire
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Lesson 3
The Queens of Ancient Egypt

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In this lesson, students will focus on learning about some of ancient Egypt's great queens - Nefertiti, Tiy, and Nefertari. Students will learn about what made these women powerful as well as how they influenced the lives of the common people by being held in such high regard by their husbands, the pharaohs.

Subject Areas:

World History, Social Studies, Sociology, Women's Studies, Communication Arts.

Grade Level: 6-12

Lesson Objectives:
Students will:
  1. Analyze a common quotation and participate in a class discussion about its meaning and their opinions about the quote.
  2. View video clips and read Web site content related to ancient Egyptian queens Nefertiti, Tiy, and Nefertari.
  3. Work in small groups to create quiz questions and answers about the three queens.
  4. Participate in a classroom competition utilizing their quiz questions and answers.
  5. Participate in a class discussion about how these three queens impacted ancient Egyptian life and influenced the role of women in the culture.
  6. Complete a project that illustrates what they have learned about Nefertiti, Tiy, and Nefertari and their impact on the ancient Egyptians.
Relevant National Standards:
MCREL Compendium of K-12 Standards addressed:
World History
Standard 3: Understands the major characteristics of civilization and the development of civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley.

Historical Understanding
Standard 2: Understands the historical perspective.

Language Arts

Standard 4: Gathers and uses information for research purposes.

Standard 5: Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process.
Standard 7: Uses reading skills and strategies to understand and interpret a variety of informational texts.

Listening and Speaking
Standard 8: Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.

Working with Others
Standard 1: Contributes to the overall effort of a group.
Standard 4: Displays effective interpersonal communication skills.

Thinking and Reasoning
Standard 3: Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences.

Estimated Time:

This should take two 90-minute class periods or three 50-minute class periods, plus additional time for extension activities.

Materials Needed: Procedures:

1. To create student interest, write the following quotation on the board or overhead:
  • "Behind every great man is a great woman."
2. Ask students to think about the meaning of this quotation silently. After 20-30 seconds, direct students to turn to someone close by and share what they believe the quote means. Continue by directing a short discussion about this topic using questions such as:
  • Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
  • Can you think of some historical or modern day "great" men who are backed by "great" women?
  • Give some examples of ways that "great" women support "great" men without interfering in their business, leadership, etc.
3. Explain to students that they will be learning more about some of Egypt's "great" women and why they became powerful figures in ancient Egyptian society. Introduce these powerful Egyptian queens by viewing the video clip, Episode 2: Queen Tiy [watch clip, duration 1:49] and Queen Nefertiti [watch clip, duration 2:45]. Take time to discuss what was learned about each queen from the clip.

4. After viewing the clip, have students read the information from the Egypt's Golden Empire Web site feature, Women in Power to learn more detailed information about Tiy, Nefertiti, and Nefertari. This could be read as a class, in small groups, or individually. Stress to students that they will use the information they are reading to assist them with the next class activity. Encourage students to take notes as they are reading.

5. Once students have learned additional details about these three queens, have them work in pairs or small groups to develop 15 quiz questions and answers that they can use to test the knowledge of their classmates. Questions could be multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, or short answer questions. Provide each group with 15 index cards for recording their group's questions and answers. Allow students access to the Women in Power feature to ensure that questions and answers are accurate.

6. Once each group has completed its questions, have groups compete against one another to test their knowledge about these three influential Egyptian queens. Have teams keep track of the number of questions each side answers correctly. Play at least two rounds to allow students to demonstrate and build their knowledge about the three queens and why they were so important in ancient Egyptian history. Collect each team's questions so you can check the answers for accuracy.

7. After teams have completed play, facilitate a short class discussion using questions such as:
  • How did Nerfertiti, Tiy, and Nefertari demonstrate support for their husbands, the pharaohs?
  • How did the various pharaohs show that they appreciated the support and love of their chief wives, Nefertiti, Tiy, and Nefertari?
  • In what ways were these women different than previous chief queens? How were they the same?
  • At a time when the women of the world were not typically in positions of power or seen as equal to men, why do you think the Egyptians decided to raise the status of these three women and women in general?
  • In your opinion, how much influence did Nefertiti, Tiy, and Nefertari have on the way their husbands ruled as pharaohs? Were their influences positive or negative? Explain your answer using specific examples.
8. Based on what students have learned about Nefertiti, Tiy, and Nefertari, have them complete one of the activities below to illustrate what they have learned.
  • Design a piece of jewelry that could have been presented to Nefertiti, Tiy, or Nefertari by her pharaoh husband in recognition of her contributions to his reign and as a token of his affection for her. Keep in mind important gods/goddesses and images when designing the piece of jewelry. Do a color drawing or diagram of the piece or create a model of the piece using assorted craft supplies. Write a one to two paragraph description of the piece you have designed and how it is representative of the queen for whom it was designed.
  • Think about some women from modern history who have roles similar to those of Nefertiti, Tiy, and Nefertari. Create a list of these women and their contributions, then make a graphic organizer that illustrates the similarities and differences between the contributions of the ancient Egyptian queens and the women from modern history.
  • Compare and contrast Nefertiti, Tiy, and Nefertari by creating a graphic organizer such as a Venn Diagram to show the similarities and differences between the three. Write a two to three paragraph response to the following question: while these three ancient Egyptian queens shared some of the same qualities and characteristics, in your opinion, what was it that made them so popular with the pharaohs and the people alike? Give examples to support your opinions.
  • Create a series of journal entries based on the life of Nefertiti, Tiy, or Nefertari. Record three to five journal entries that describe major events that impacted on the pharaoh, the Egyptian people, or the queens personally. The journal entries should be written from one queen's point of view. The entries should be historically accurate, while including what the student believes the queen's thoughts and feelings would have been. This should be based on what they learned about her from the class activities.
Assessment Suggestions:
  1. Assign students participation grades for their involvement in class discussion activities and quiz competition between the class groups.
  2. Assign accuracy grades for quiz questions and answers.
  3. Individually grade each student project and assign a letter or percentage grade based on quality, accuracy, and project criteria.
Extension Activities:

1. Compare one of the three queens - Nefertiti, Tiy, or Nefertari - to Hatshepsut. In what ways were these women similar, and how were they different? Create a graphic organizer, collage, or some other visual representation that compares and contrasts one of the queens with the Hatsheptsut during her reign as pharaoh.

2. Learn more about the specific monuments and elaborate tombs created for Nefertiti, Tiy, and Nefertari by researching the Egypt's Golden Empire Web site. Discuss how these women of power might be honored by their husbands in modern American society.

Related Resources:

Tour Egypt []
offers a detailed discussion of Queen Nefertiti and her role in religion and as the pharaoh's most trusted wife. Also discussed is her role as a mother and her family background. Several photos of various artifacts related to Nefertiti are also featured.

Tour Egypt []
provides information about Ramesses II best loved queen, Nefertari. It discusses her background and role as chief wife. It also offers information about her tomb and monuments which were constructed for her by Ramesses.

King Tut []
provides basic biographical information about the Queen Nefertari.

Historical Personalities and Issues [] offers a short biography of Queen Tiy.

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Egypt Lesson 3: The Queens of Ancient Egypt (120k).

Related Links:

New Kingdom   New Kingdom
Virtual Library   Virtual Library
For Educators

National Standards

- Lesson 1:
  Hieroglyphs and   Communication

- Lesson 2:
  Tombs and the Afterlife

- Lesson 3:
  The Queens of Ancient Egypt

- Lesson 4:
  Egypt's Greatest Leaders

- Lesson 5:
  Architectural Marvels

- Lesson 6:
  A Day in the Life of an   Egyptian

- Lesson 7:
  Touring Ancient Egypt

- Lesson 8:
  The Science and Technology
  of Ancient Egypt

Egypt's Golden Empire