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Young Readers' Series: Ancient Egypt Rediscovered

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Open to: Grades 4-6

Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level verbal score required

Course Format: Session Based. See calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Course Length: 10 weeks (Early Fall, Late Fall, Winter, Spring) or 12 weeks (Early Summer, Mid-Summer)

Course Code: YRAE

Course Description 

Description

When its cities crumbled into dust, Ancient Egypt’s culture and the secrets of its hieroglyphic writings were also lost. The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth Payne explains how the Rosetta Stone allowed archaeologists to piece together the missing 3,000 years. In Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh by R. L. LaFevers, eleven-year-old Theo sets off to Egypt to help her mother on an archeological expedition. When the Serpents of Chaos get involved, however, Theo finds she’s digging up a lot more than she expected. In The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan, Carter and Sadie’s father brings the siblings together for a research experiment at the British Museum to set things right. Instead, the children must embark on a dangerous quest to stop the Egyptian god Set.

Note: Ancient Egypt Rediscovered combines both nonfiction and fiction books. Therefore, students will complete certain assignments with the help of historical timelines and additional research materials. The use of literary devices covered in the other Young Readers' Series fiction themes will also be included.

About the Young Readers' Series for Grades 4 - 6

The Young Readers' Series is designed to enhance a student's critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. Developed for enrichment, course assignments meet or surpass the Common Core College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading. As students participate in written discussion forums, they make inferences, determine motivations, evaluate arguments, and provide textual evidence to support their opinions. Creative writing assignments encourage students to take on different points of view, summarize details, compare authors, and discuss central ideas. Students work with both fiction and nonfiction material. Books entice students to go beyond simple comprehension and engage in higher level thinking about issues ranging from the ethics of time travel to the dangers of subliminal advertising.

Designed for children reading at a middle-school level or above, students:

  • Read three thematically connected, age-appropriate books of increasing difficulty
  • Participate in online written discussions with classmates from Boston to Beijing
  • Post writing assignments such as alternate story endings and talk shows with characters as guests
  • Analyze the authors’ writing styles and use of literary devices
  • Learn sophisticated vocabulary words and literary devices with the help of online games and puzzles
  • Receive individualized written feedback from their instructor about each unit's work

Parents Ask...

  • Students typically read and share written responses every other day. Classes are not live.
  • Work is posted in the virtual classrooms at the student’s convenience as long as each unit's deadlines are met.
  • It does not matter whether a student has already read one or all of the books before the course begins because the emphasis on citing the text requires careful re-reading.
  • Students must already be proficient in Standard Written English. Instructors discuss grammar only when it affects meaning.
  • These critical reading courses are designed to be ungraded, enrichment courses; instead of a grade, instructors provide specific feedback about each student's work at the end of each unit and a detailed final evaluation at the end of the course. Parents or guardians may request a final grade if needed for school credit

About Course Selection

Parents are encouraged to consider the information contained in Appropriateness, Look inside the books, and Read reviews for the books before deciding on the course that would be most interesting and appropriate for their child.

Appropriateness

Parents should be aware that each theme contains books with humor, suspense, mystery, sadness, adventure, and heroism. Overall, while our courses contain advanced grade-level material, we strive to select materials appropriate to the ages of the students. Please look inside the books and read reviews to decide whether these books are appropriate for your child. If you are still uncertain whether your child is ready for a course, please email ctyonline@jhu.edu

Look inside the books.

Look inside The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth Payne
Look inside Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh by R. L LaFevers
Look inside The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

Read reviews. Parents are urged to review for appropriate content.

Reviews of The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt
Reviews of Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh
Reviews of The Red Pyramid

This course does not have any synchronous class meetings, but students may schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor to answer questions or concerns.

Videos from YouTube or other web providers may be present in the course. Video recommendations or links provided at end of videos are generated by the video host provider and are not CTY recommendations.

Materials Needed

  • The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth Payne (Random House, 1981) ISBN 0394846990
  • Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh by R. L. LaFevers (Sandpiper, 2012) ISBN 0547850867
  • The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (Hyperion, 2011) ISBN 1423113454

Detailed Course Information

Course Details

Unit 1: The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

  • Begin reading The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • To learn more about Egyptian Mummification, play one of the Mummy Maker Games.
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 2: The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt

  • Finish reading The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Complete and submit the 10-Question True/False Quiz based on information found in the Ancient Egypt Timeline
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 3: Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh

  • Begin reading Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Look over Theodosia's Travel Album
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 4: Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh

  • Continue reading Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 5: Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh

  • Finish reading Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 6: The Red Pyramid

  • Begin reading The Lost Hero
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 7: The Red Pyramid

  • Continue reading The Red Pyramid
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum

Unit 8: The Red Pyramid

  • Continue reading The Red Pyramid
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Board

Unit 9: The Red Pyramid

  • Finish reading The Red Pyramid
  • Vote your Opinion in the Poll
  • Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to The Red Pyramid Discussion Forum
  • Contribute two thoughtful posts to the Ancient Egypt Rediscovered Summary Discussion Forum

Unit 10: Summary Assignments covering all three books

Vote your opinion in the Poll

  • Post ONE of the writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum
  • Complete the Literary Terms Test

Note: You are provided with a list of vocabulary words from each book that you can use to help better understand the book and increase your knowledge of vocabulary words in general.

OPTIONAL–Not required–Fun and Challenges:

  • Prepare for the Literary Terms Test by playing the online Literary Terms games and puzzles.
  • Share your favorite stories and authors with other students in the Recommended Reading glossary.
  • Print out and work on the crossword puzzles that have been provided to help reinforce your knowledge of the vocabulary words.
  • Use the Vocabulary Words Flash cards and games to help learn the vocabulary words in a fun way.

Time Required

This course requires approximately three hours for each of the ten units. Students should expect to spend approximately 3 hours per week during the course.

Note: Classes are not live. Students do not have to meet in the classroom at the same time. A student's written work can be posted in the virtual classroom at the student's convenience as long as deadlines are met.

About Summer Sessions:

The Young Readers' Series offers 12-week summer sessions that allows families to take a week or two of vacation and 10-week sessions. All sessions cover the same course material and assignments.

While the 12-week summer sessions courses allow for 2 weeks total vacation, students in the Young Readers’ courses are encouraged to work ahead or make up their work to try to keep up with their classmates whenever possible. Experience has shown that these courses are most fun when all students are working on the same unit. Students must notify the instructor at the course's start about any planned vacation dates and must meet scheduled due dates when they are not on vacation. Students who make up their work can finish their summer course in 10 weeks.

If you have any questions, please contact us before applying at ctyonline@jhu.edu.

Sample Assignment

Demo

Ancient Egypt Rediscovered Sample Assignment

To give you an idea of the type of assignments involved, the following is the first of ten units:

Instructions for Unit One

All work is due by the following Sunday at midnight. (That's the end of Sunday, not the beginning!) This means that your assigned reading should be started early and completed by Thursday night--at the latest--to allow you enough time to finish all the assignments (reading, poll, writing assignment, discussion forum, and optional games, crossword puzzles, and glossaries) by Sunday night.

1. Begin reading The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt by Elizabeth Payne, preferably reading in the following reading chunks:

  • Pages 1-19
  • Pages 20-39
  • Pages 40-63
  • Pages 64-79

2. Vote your opinion in the Poll.

3. To learn more about Egyptian Mummification, play one of the Mummy Maker Games found on the homepage.

4. Post ONE of the following writing assignments (your choice) to the Writing Forum:

a. While participating in an archaeological dig in Egypt, your team comes across some discarded papyrus scrolls stuffed in the mummified body of a crocodile. After careful study of the hieroglyphics, you figure out that these scrolls are the equivalent of an ancient Egyptian newspaper. What is the most important news story from one of those ancient scrolls? Write a 100-300 word news story translated from what you have found on the scroll, being sure to include a headline and address the journalists' questions of who, what, where, why, and how. Feel free to refer to events covered in The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt and/or the online historical resources offered by the British Museum and the Smithsonian found in Want to Learn More about Ancient Egypt? 

b. The Egyptians had some very specific thoughts about what would happen to them upon their death. Based on what you know of the pharaohs, take on the point of view of a particular Egyptian pharaoh and write a 100-300 word description of the design and contents of your tomb. What scenes might be painted on the walls? Would you replicate your army? Would you take your jewels? Your furniture? What use might these items be in the afterlife? Be sure to give the reasons for choosing the items you will take with you, and if you’d like, describe the physical structure of the tomb in which you wish to be placed when you leave this world for the next. Feel free to refer to the online historical resources about pyramids offered by PBS and others found in Want to Learn More about Ancient Egypt?

5. Contribute two (or more) thoughtful posts to the Discussion Forum in response to any of the following questions. (Remember! At least one of your two thoughtful posts should be in reply to a discussion post made by another student.)

a. Archaeology comes of age. In 1799, only 200 or so years ago, we knew almost nothing about the civilization of Ancient Egypt. Does that surprise you? Why or why not? How does a civilization like that of ancient Egypt "disappear"? How does archaeology “come of age” in Egypt? Why are our current archaeological techniques so important? Do you think there is anything left to be discovered about ancient Egypt?

b. The Rosetta Stone. The discovery of the Rosetta Stone was very important to the uncovering of the “lost history of ancient Egypt” (6). Why was this discovery so pivotal to the recovery of the civilization of Ancient Egypt? What was so important about the discovery of the repetition of Pharaoh Ptolemy’s name? What do you think of the story of Jean Francois Champollion?

c. Advances in civilization. From what you have read, how and why is Egypt “one of the world’s first and greatest civilizations” (19)? What were some of the advances in civilization made by the early Egyptians? Using what you know and what you have read, explain why these advances were important. Name and explain some advances that came from ancient Egypt. Is anything that we do or use in our modern day life related to an activity or object created by this ancient civilization?

d. Pharaoh Menes. What did Pharaoh Menes do for the Egyptian society, and how did he do it? How did Menes die, and why do you think this information was documented? What do you think of the manner in which he died?

e. The River. Why was the Nile River such a big part of the ancient Egyptian civilization? What were the key features of the Nile Valley that made it perfect for Egypt’s development? Why was the invention of irrigation so important? What do you predict would happen if the Nile River dried up?

f. Pharaoh Cheops. What do we know about Pharaoh Cheops? What don’t we know? Why do we know as little as we do? Why is Cheops’s employment of the farmers called “the first unemployment scheme on record” (55)? What did this plan do for Egypt? The author claims that "as far as archaeologists can tell, the poor had few complaints" (47-48). Is this conclusion convincing? How would archaeologists know whether the poor of ancient Egypt had complaints about their life?

g. The Priests of Ra. As the pharaohs who followed Cheops to the throne seemed weak in their ability to rule the people of Egypt, the priests of Ra become increasingly influential to the throne. Why is this development important? What led up to the increased influence of these priests? What did this influence lead to in the movement of Egyptian civilization? Who was Osiris, and why was he called “the first of the Westerners” (71)?

OPTIONAL–Not required–Fun and Challenges:

  • Share your favorite stories and authors with other students in the Recommended Reading glossary.
  • Print out and work on the crossword puzzles that have been provided to help reinforce your knowledge of the vocabulary words.
  • Use the Vocabulary Words Flashcards and Games to help learn the vocabulary words in a fun way.

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.

 

Reviews

"I think the course was great! The blogs and discussions helped me express my thoughts about the books and showed me what other people thought about the books we read. The feedback was very helpful, encouraging and thoughtful. I wanted to improve every lesson."

"This course was exceptional. It was our child's first course with CTY and we were worried about his ability and interest for a course like this. Within the second required posting his written output improved dramatically as did his keyboarding skills. The feedback provided by the tutor was amazing, always complimentary yet incredibly motivating and enriching. Through the feedback our child was driven to perform. How the course was set up for literary devices was very cleverly done. The combination of history as well as the novels chosen were very enriching and held our child's interest through the entire course."

"My daughter and I loved this course! The books selected for the course held her interest and she was excited to share with me what she read. I particularly liked the varied writing assignments and prompts in each question. The instructor's encouragement and feedback on my daughter's writing were insightful and enthusiastic. I could tell that she read every word of what my daughter wrote and offered praise and thoughtful suggestions on how my daughter could make her writing more expansive."

"The instructor was wonderful for this course, and gave a lot of individual attention. The mixture of historical and fictional texts was also a big plus." 

"It is refreshing and motivating for my daughter to read the instructor's specific remarks (She is accustomed to receiving "good" as the sole comment on her efforts!)."

"The instructor’s feedback and instruction have increased my daughter's confidence with regard to her writing skills. My daughter is expressing a strong desire to become an author and wants to continue learning more about writing. She has always excelled in writing at school; however, after taking this course, her middle school teachers have commented on how much more advanced she is than others in her honors courses because of her style of writing."

"The feedback on the writing assignments was incredibly thorough and comprehensive. My son started the course and submitted disorganized work. The instructor's detailed commentary helped him to improve his work dramatically."

"The instructor provides positive feedback, individualized attention and tips that do not overwhelm the children. She motivated my child and gave her the confidence to express herself."

"My instructor's feedback was very helpful - always taking my thinking to a new level. She was thorough and asked good questions. She also was good at sending reminders regarding the work that was due. She made me a better writer and critical thinker. She taught me to ask more questions."