Egypt's Golden Empire
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Lesson 4
Egypt's Greatest Leaders

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In this lesson, students will learn about seven of Egypt's most famous pharaohs. They will discuss leadership styles and draw conclusions about the success of each of these pharaohs. After learning about the personality and life of each pharaoh, students will break into groups to create in-depth projects about one of the seven pharaohs they have learned about and will teach others in the class about this leader.

Subject Areas:
World History, Social Studies, Communication Arts, Art History, and Art students.

Grade Level: 6-12

Lesson Objectives:
Students will:
  1. Utilize graphic organizers and brainstorming techniques to discuss the traits and characteristics of great leaders.
  2. Participate in a class discussion about different leadership styles.
  3. View a number of video clips and written content about the great pharaohs of ancient Egypt and complete a research guide about the pharaohs.
  4. Discuss the leadership skills of each pharaoh and whether or not they believe this person was successful in leading the people.
  5. Work in small groups to conduct research and create group projects focusing on a specific pharaoh.
  6. Work in small groups to prepare a 15-minute presentation of their project for the class.
  7. Present their project for classmates and assess what students have learned from the presentation.
  8. Complete peer and self evaluations of their own projects and those done by their classmates.
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. Standard 5: Understands the political, social, and cultural consequences of population movements and militarization in Eurasia in the second millennium BCE.

Historical Understanding
Standard 2: Understands the historical perspective.

Language Arts

Standard 3: Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions.
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.

Standard 4: Understands the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.

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

Estimated Time:

This should take three 90-minute class periods or five to six 50-minute class periods plus additional time for presentations and extension activities.

Materials Needed: Procedures:

1. Using a graphic organizer such as a Mind Map or Brainstorming Web, have students work as a class to brainstorm the skills, traits, and characteristics of a great leader. Ask students to supply examples of people (past and present) they believe are great leaders. List these names on the graphic organizer as well.

2. Facilitate a class discussion about different ways that leaders rule and have students discuss different leadership styles using the names of the people generated in step one. Be sure to stress that some leaders are great because they are decisive and act quickly. Others may be great because they take input from people and are open to suggestions, or perhaps they are creative and able to come up with new ideas.

3. Explain to students that they will be seeing a number of video clips highlighting some of Egypt's well-known leaders. From these clips students will gather part of the information needed to create a project about the pharaohs.

4. Distribute the Learning About the Pharaohs Research Guide [Download PDF here (44k). Requires free Adobe Acrobat.] from this lesson plan, and review the directions for completing the guide. View video clips Episode 1: Hatshepsut Take the Throne [watch clip, duration 2:22] , Tuthmosis Thanks Amen-Re [watch clip, duration 1:03] Episode 2: Amenhotep's Diplomatic Strategies [watch clip, duration 3:20], King Tut's Tomb [watch clip, duration 2:28 ] and Episode 3: Ramesses Propaganda Techniques [watch clip, duration 3:02 ],Ramesses Records History [watch clip, duration 2:25]. These will help students learn about Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis, Amenhotep, and Ramesses.

5. In addition to the video clips, show students the Pharaohs feature on the Egypt's Golden Empire Web site, so they can learn more about each of these leaders. Have students work in pairs, small groups or work as a class to continue to record information from the Learning About the Pharaohs Research Guide [Download PDF here (44k). Requires free Adobe Acrobat.].

6. After all the clips and online content have been viewed, conduct a short class discussion about whether or not the featured pharaohs were successful leaders. If so, ask what each leader did to make him/herself successful.

7. Distribute the Egyptian Pharaohs Project Guidelines [Download PDF here (96k). Requires free Adobe Acrobat.] from this lesson plan to each student. Carefully review the requirements and options for the project. Allow students to form pairs or small groups to work with while completing the project.

8. Using the Pharaohs feature and the Related Resources in this lesson plan, have students use the Internet and other primary sources to complete the research necessary to create their project. Provide at least 45 minutes of class time for this. Allow more time if your classroom schedule permits and you feel it is necessary.

9. When research has been completed, allow another 45 minutes for students to begin working together to complete their projects. Allow more time if your classroom schedule permits.

10. When all groups have finished their projects, have each group present his/her project for the class. This could be done in large groups or by having groups work one on one with each other. All students must complete the assessment activity provided by each group. All students must also complete a peer evaluation form about each group's project.

11. When all projects have been presented, display them in a prominent area of the school for others to see.

Assessment Suggestions:
  1. Students could receive participation grades for group discussion activities.
  2. Students could receive completion grades for finishing the Learning About the Pharaohs Research Guide and for completing the assessment activity and a peer evaluation form for each group's project presentation. Note: to ensure that students are evaluating the elements you feel are most important in each project, work as a class to develop the questions for the peer evaluation forms.
  3. Students could receive individual grades based on the portion of the project they completed and their individual role in the group presentation. Note: to ensure that students have a thorough understanding of the elements you feel are most important and the specifics of how they will be graded, work as a class to develop the criteria for the project scoring guide.
Extension Activities:

1. Invite students from other classrooms or grade levels studying ancient Egypt or related topics to come to a project exhibit. Each group should have their project on display and should make their presentations to students as they move through the exhibit.

2. Using a graphic organizer such as a Venn Diagram, have students compare the ancient Egyptian pharaohs they have studied to other famous world leaders. What common characteristics do these leaders share? How are they different? What leadership techniques and characteristics have proven to be successful throughout history?

Related Resources:

The Ancient Egypt Web pages [] supply links to a wide variety of subjects related to ancient Egypt.

Egyptology Online [] provides pictures and links to specific pharaohs along with a summary of his/her reign.

(Require free Adobe Acrobat.)

Egypt Lesson 4: Egypt's Greatest Leaders (124k).
Pharaohs Research Guide (44k).
Egyptian Pharaohs Project Guidelines (96k).

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