Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fourth Grade Egyptian Canopic Jars

 Fourth graders are fascinated with ancient Egypt (as am I!). In the past, I have had them make pharaoh's masks, which have turned out pretty well. This year, I decided to switch it up a little bit and we made Canopic Jars. To begin the project, we discussed what canopic jars were- jars that held the internal organs of the deceased. That really caught their attention! Of course, then they had all kinds of questions- how did they get the organs out, why did they remove the organs, what did they do with the body. This naturally led into a great research opportunity for the students.


We learned that there were traditionally 4 different canopic jars: jackal, falcon, baboon and human. Each one held a different organ. The human jar held the liver, the baboon jar held the lungs, the falcon jar held the intestines and the jackal jar held the stomach.

We looked at a variety of different canopic jars that I found in books and on the internet. This helped give the students an idea. Then they designed their own jar and drew it in their sketchbook.
 When their designs were ready, I gave them a good sized ball of clay and had them make the jar (a basic pinch pot was what we used). We tried to make the walls fairly high- when I do this next year, I think that we will do a coil pot instead of a pinch pot. This will allow the students to make their walls a lot higher.

They used their clay tools to scratch a variety of patterns into the pot and I scratched their initials and class code into the bottom when they were done.

Before making the lid of their jar, I showed them a couple of YouTube videos that I had found. These videos were geared toward middle school students, but the fourth graders did a really good job following what was demonstrated.


I gave them a second ball of clay and they made the lid for their jar.

Once both pieces were ready, I fired them and had them ready for our 4th class.




During our fourth class, I pulled out pretty much every color of glaze that I had and let them glaze both pieces. I also had them glaze the inside of each piece.

I fired them one last time and I have them all sitting in my storage room right now. These beautiful pieces will be my beginning of the year art display in August. I can't wait to show off what they created!





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