Teaching about the Tension in Egypt
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
There is a lot of excitement going on in Egypt these days. What is it all about? What would an elementary student need to know? What could you possibly connect it to? What lessons can be learned by discussing the situation? Below are some ways you might incorporate Egypt into your curriculum.
Photo courtesy m_bartosch.
I believe it is important to incorporate as much of the real world into a classroom as possible. A great deal can be learned from the mistakes (or success) of others. After all, this is why we study history. The tensions in Egypt can provide many valuable lessons that an elementary student can appreciate. The key is connecting the information with something they already know (for the brain stores by similarities and retrieves by differences). Otherwise, it just won't stick!
Lesson Anchor Music = "Walk Like an Egyptian"
Since math is the first subject that I usually tackle each day, I might start the day with a geometry review of three dimensional figures. The vocabulary words of vertex, edge, and face would be reviewed along with the names of common three dimensional figures, especially the pyramid.
One can go to this site and print off geometry nets for students to create their own three dimensional objects out of paper.
Math and Reading
Read the story "Rajah's Rice." This is a mathematical folktale from India about a clever girl who uses math concepts (i.e. doubling quantities) to outsmart the greedy Rajah. At this point in the day, I would still not mention the current situations in Egypt. I am just planting seeds that can later be harvested.
Reading and Writing
Allow students 10 minutes to write their thoughts about the following scenario.
Your older brother has mowed the neighbor's lawn, washed both family cars, and did the laundry. He asks your parents if he can use his own money to buy a popsicle from the ice cream man. Your parents, who have sat on the back porch and smoked all day, tell him no and take his money. Furthermore, your brother is grounded for even asking for permission for the popsicle. This happens all the time in your house. You believe your parents are unreasonable. What do you do?
Have the students share some of their thoughts. Direct them down the path as to whether they should remain neutral, stand up for what they think is right, or obey the parents because there could be serious consequences. This will later connect to what should the US do with Egypt.
Reading and Social Studies
Print off one or both of the following short articles. Read about the situation together. Article 1 Article 2 (do not show the videos from this site to your students). Report this additional fact: CNN stated that the USA gives greater than $1 billion in aid to the country annually.
Tasks after reading the article:
- Find the location of Egypt and Tunisia on a map
- Discuss Problem and Solution
- Discuss Cause and Effect
- Discuss our American Core Democratic Values
- Tie the articles into "Rajah's Rice" and the writing prompt from earlier
- Why does the USA care? (answers found in articles)
- How will this affect the world?
- Why is the Suez canal so important?
- Connect this to the Boston Tea Party or other events that started the American Revolution
- What effects do technology have on this revolution?
- Compare it to the technology available at the time of the American Revolution. Compare the lanterns in the North Church / Paul Revere on horse back to modern day text messaging for mobilizing groups of rebels.
- Does the government have a right to shut down a communication system like the Internet or text messaging?
Have students choose to whom they would like to write a letter.
- The President of America - Stating their opinion on whether the USA should get involved or let the country solve its own issues.
- A Child in Egypt - Giving advice on the importance to either stand up for what they believe in or the importance of keeping the peace and following the rules of the leader.
- The President of Egypt (Hosni Mubarak) - Giving advice on how he should handle the tensions with his citizens.
What additional activities do you do with your students to help them learn about the tensions in Egypt?
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