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Compare and contrast funerary traditions in ancient civilizations

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Christine Moguel
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Compare and contrast funerary traditions in ancient civilizations

Grade Level: 12+    Subject: History/Ancient Civilization

Lesson Aim/Objective: The objective of this lesson is to learn about the ancient practice of funerary art.  We will compare and contrast clay warrior figures with the wears of the Egyptian kings and pharaohs using a ven diagram outline.

Materials: Ipads, Projector, poster board, markers, lined paper, pencil, Ven Diagram handout.

Common Core Standards:  Reading Standards for Literature K–5

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.6

Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.9

Compare and contrast findings presented in a text to those from other sources (including their own experiments), noting when the findings support or contradict previous explanations or accounts.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

Motivation: The motivation for this lesson is for my special education students to become familiar with the funerary art of two of the most powerful ancient civilizations.  I will try to make them understand the purpose of the funerary objects and we will then examine both the civilizations artifacts/art work.  We will then compare and contrast the two styles of art.  The students can then make speculations and inferences about the two cultures funerary practices in our final discussion.


  1. Front load the students with key vocabulary they will be using as:

Funerary art

Burial site

Egyptian tombs



Clay figures







  1. Have students look up these words i=on their ipads and have them click “images” to get a visual as to what each of the vocabulary looks like.  Have students pair share their thoughts on the images.
  2. Discuss the different aspects of both cultures- wherein, the pharaohs of Egypt and the Emperor in China wanted to be protected and believed in attaining immortality.


  • What does immortality mean?
  • What types of objects did each of the cultures leaders desire to be buried with?
  • How did their views on death differ or were they the same?
  • Did those of less power get the same treatment- get to be buried with objects for the after life?



  1. Have students share out their thoughts and ideas about what they see. 
  2. Handout a ven diagram sheet and instruct the students to write out the differences and similarities between the practices.
  3. Walk around and check if the students need any help.
  4. Instruct students to get into small groups and share out their work. 
  5. Have a whole group discussions and writ the findings og their work on the board making a large scale ven diagram and labeling it with the students answers.

Assessment Activity:

  1. Work samples
  2. Responses to discussion question /informal observations
  3. Quiz
  4. Final presentations


Follow Up:




•	Encourage students to learn more about the funerary traditions from pre-colombian era.  Most of the students in my school are from a latino background and might want to know what sort of funerary traditions were practiced from their ancestors.