SchoolArts Magazine

January 2017

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 31 I had them delve into these areas further. Students searched the Web and read through classroom refer- ence books to locate and identify the meanings of Egyptian symbols, such as lotus flowers, crocodiles, scarabs, and deities. Each student chose a symbol and searched for its meaning and significance. Bilateral Symmetry Since students would be working with the human figure, I discussed the relevance of bilateral symmetry. I explained that bilateral symmetry is evident when a body or object is divided into a mirror image, identical on the right and left halves. We used the example of the human body to demonstrate and discuss this concept. We discussed how it can be found in nature, math, and art. Considering Egyptian Tradition We focused our attention on the examples of bilateral symmetry that can be found on Egyptian sarcophagi. The right and left sides of a case are usually mirror images of each other. We observed images of a few and reminisced about the exhibit. I asked students what they remembered about the cases at the museum, and they mentioned things such as ani- mals, deities, human figures, lotus flowers, and the presence of gold. We discussed the repetition of colors and symbols that created pat- terns, and noticed that the color schemes most frequently found in objects at the exhibit were red, blue, and green. We also discussed what kinds of materials Egyptian artisans used to create and embellish their artifacts, such as gemstones, gold, silver, and paint. Creating Egyptian Designs To update this traditional, frequently taught lesson, I told students they would be working as artisans on sep- arate designs to add to a class collec- tive project: a sarcophagus case. Each student was asked to select a symbol to sketch, outline, and color on paper as a symmetrical design. We discussed how their drawings had to be facing in two different directions in order to create mirror images, one facing right, and the other left. Students selected various sizes of yellow construction paper, rang- ing from 3 x 3" (8 x 8 cm) to 8 x 12" ( 20 x 30 cm). We used yellow paper to represent the gold that was com- mon in Egyptian artifacts. Students d rew their designs, outlined them with fine- or medium-tipped black markers, and colored the mirror images in identical colors using marker. A Collaborative Mummy Case A student lay down on yellow bulletin paper that was spread out on the floor. He crossed and folded his arms in front of him while another student traced the outline of his body in the shape of a mummy case. The first student then got up and moved away from the case, and another student drew in the face (mask) and shoulders, as well as the staff and scepter. After students drew and colored in their symbols, they cut out their work. They took turns placing it in the sarcophagus using bilateral symmetry. Students were free to move around the items that previous students had placed on the case. After the placement was decided, we glued the symbols onto the bulletin paper. Each of my sixth- grade classes made a highly unique sarcophagus—they were finished projects made through the collective effort of our student artisans. Victoria Gadecki is a National Board Cer- tified sixth-grade social studies teacher at Lexington Middle School in Lexington, South Carolina. Vgadecki123 @ msn.com N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context. W E B L I N K www.egyptianmuseum.org/curricul- umresources

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