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Exploring Ancient Egypt with The Haverford School’s Third Grade

Third-graders took an innovative twist on the study of ancient times at The Haverford School Ancient Egypt Museum.

The Haverford School’s third grade shows off its studies of ancient Egypt with its own exhibit, complete with a mini-museum, artifacts, era-appropriate garb, and live demonstrations of pyramid building, mummification, and daily Egyptian life.

Third-grade teachers, in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, helped guide students in their hands-on, explorative journey about life (and death) in ancient Egypt. Through study of embalming tools on loan from the museum and online research, students learned the process of preparing a body for its final resting place in a stone sarcophagus. To learn about pyramid construction, the boys devised limestone bricks and a cargo boat. In their exploration of daily life, they recreated an Egyptian marketplace depicting trades and crafts of the time. In a real-time twist, the students also took virtual trips to study museum layouts and created web pages with photos and descriptions of their own recreated artifacts, incorporating modern technology into their study of ancient customs.

How did the third graders conceive of their detailed exhibition? With design thinking. Design thinking is an approach evolved from a range of different fields, including architecture, engineering, business, and of course, design. Instead of focusing on obstacles or limitations, design thinking is a solution-based method, a constructive way to tackle any conundrum and find an effective solution.  

Third grade teacher Kate Thorburn says, “Design thinking lets you tap into creativity, who you are as a maker. As a learner, it lets you think outside the box, take risks, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes.”

Design thinking involves the LAUNCH Cycle: Look, listen, learn; Ask tons of questions; Understand the process; Navigate ideas; Create a prototype; Highlight and fix; LAUNCH to audience. As the video above shows, The Haverford School’s third grade successfully worked through this cycle’s detailed progression and launched to a receptive audience of fellow Lower School students, teachers, and parents.

Bart Smith, parent of first- and third-graders at The Haverford School, and an alum, attended the ancient Egypt exhibition with full appreciation of how the school’s LAUNCH approach, sense of stability, and sense of community works for his two sons.

“One is an artist and a dreamer, one is orderly and mathematical. And each is thriving in their own way,” says Mr. Smith. “We’ve never had a teacher we didn’t love.” 

Learn more about how The Haverford School can launch your child toward a successful future. 

The Haverford School, a nonsectarian college preparatory day school for pre-kindergarten through grade 12, provides a superior liberal arts education for qualified boys of differing backgrounds. We are committed to developing the full intellectual, artistic, athletic, and moral potential in each boy, and we aim to graduate young men with strong character who possess a passion for learning and the necessary problem-solving skills to make a difference in the world. The Haverford School prepares boys for life. www.haverford.org

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