Preparation for the Pyramids Workshop

1.                 If you have an interactive whiteboard please have it set up so I can display photos.

2.                 Make sure the tables are arranged in groups for the experimental archaeology activity, with a space on the carpet for the children to sit on. There should be one very long table (seating about 12 children) and the rest should be in 6s.

3.                 I have enclosed a sheet for you to put the children into 9 groups of mixed ability to do the pyramid activities. First I will demonstrate the forces needed to pull stone on sand and on a sled, and up a slope. After that the 9 groups will work on 3 activities (3 groups all doing the same activity). They will have 20-25 minutes on each activity and then rotate (the activities are described on the website).

4.                 For the experimental archaeology it would be very helpful to have one adult supervising each activity - perhaps yourself and two TAs (or other adults). This way each adult can become a ‘specialist’ on that activity and be of great assistance to children

5.                 We will need to have break from 10.15 to 10.30 in order to have enough time for the experimental archaeology activity.

6.                 In the afternoon, after looking at the lives of the pyramid builders, we will make our scale models of the pyramids.  I have enclosed a list of the activities, arranged by difficulty, for you to assign the children.

7.                 The pyramid activity is challenging as it requires accurate cutting, folding and sticking of card. Please arrange for as many adults as possible to help (a minimum of 2). It would also be very helpful if the children could spend 15 minutes practising cutting along straight lines, and scoring and folding card. This means holding a ruler underneath a straight line and scratching the line with scissors, to make it easier to fold it.

8.                 The Giza model is large –  2.4m long and 90cm wide – so you will need to find a suitable place to display it (perhaps in a corridor). And of course we will need a large space to make it.

9.                 Please ensure the following items are ready in the classroom on the day of the visit:

Table at front of room, under the whiteboard

15 rulers

24 pairs of scissors

16 glue spreaders

8 small containers (for glue – but do not put the glue in them)

PVA (ordinary PVA in a big bottle)

6 Pritt sticks

Lots of felt tips (mainly black, brown, blue, grey)

Sheets to cover the tables (please cover them in advance if possible, except for the very long table, which is for the blocks)

Paper towels (10 or so)

3 paint palettes

2 pots for water

15 art overalls

8 paint brushes (I will provide the paint)

20 sharp pencils



Assignment to Groups for the Experimental Archaeology Activity

Groups should be mixed ability.

Ra 1, Osiris 1, and Thoth 1 should have the highest ability children so they can try special challenges (e.g. making the spiral ramp)



Children’s names

Ra 1




Ra 2




Ra 3




Osiris 1




Osiris 2




Osiris 3




Thoth 1





Thoth 2









Pyramid Making: Assignment of Activities to Children

Arranged by difficulty level, for a typical year 5



Number of children



Step pyramid





Two small step pyramids

(painting queens’ pyramids)



The sphinx





Fairly easy




Enclosure walls and causeways (sticking strips of card together and painting sticks)




The base *

(gluing large pieces of cardboard together and gluing on sand)



Khafre’s valley temple & the sphinx temple (painting  a plaster cast)








Making the satellite pyramids

(cutting, folding and gluing card to make 2 small pyramids)



Making building pictures

(drawings of modern buildings to give the scale of the pyramids)**








Mortuary temples

(cutting, folding and gluing card to make 3 small buildings)




Making the ‘old’ pyramids

(cutting and sellotaping corrugated card to make 3 large and 4 small Giza pyramids)






Making the ‘as new’ pyramids (cutting, folding and gluing large pieces of white card to make 3 large and 4 small Giza pyramids)



*the base for the Giza model is large – 240X90cm – so we will need a large table space covered with sheets. Whichever surface is used, it must be covered, as we will use a lot of glue and sand.

** the building pictures are optional. If you have a small class you can miss this out to make sure the main models get made. Alternatively they can be made by children who finish their main activity.