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I wonder how the pyramids were built?
This was only one of the wonderings we had about the pyramids as part of our class inquiry. To investigate how they were built, I wanted everyone to imagine that we were ancient Egyptians, setting out to build the first pyramid. Hopefully we would face some of the same challenges they did, and learn from them. What better place to start than to get children to try to create a pyramid.
Later discoveries would show Seraphina’s pyramid looked similar to the first pyramid, the step pyramid.
The class met many challenges while making their pyramids. Some of the wonderings that came from this were:
India tried to problem solve collapsing pyramids, by building a completely solid pyramid that wasn’t hollow like previous designs.
Mila, India, Donte and other children worked out the rule to create pyramids that look like those at Giza.
We realised the Egyptians pyramid builders were a lot like us, in that they had a lot of interesting looking pyramids before they achieved their goal of creating one they were really happy with. Below are some of the pyramids in Egypt that we found out about. We tried to sequence them from earliest built to most recently built based on their appearance. Seraphina came up with the idea that maybe the Egyptian pyramids got better with time because they used stronger materials.
It’s very well to know what a pyramid looks like and build one out of lego, but how did the Egyptians build their ones?
We talked about how we could easily build many of the pyramids we made in the sandpit. It would be easy to just carry our wooden blocks or lego bricks across the sand and build. But how did the ancient Egyptians do this with the huge blocks they used? We found out the Egyptians brought some blocks in boats up the river Nile. To get them from the Nile to their pyramid building site, they built stone pathways, so they didn’t have to struggle through sand.
The Egyptians still had to get their building blocks there though, so how did they do it?
These are a couple of the ideas the class created to achieve this.
We categorised them into 3 groups, techniques that involved pushing, pulling or pulling with help.The next step for us was to apply or test out our ideas to see if they would work. We discovered that pushing or pulling a light object is very easy, but as soon as we increased the weight of an object, both of these techniques became a lot harder. We needed a lot of people and muscle to achieve our result.
Next, we tried to use Louie’s idea of using rollers to roll our block of weight over them. Now, what had once taken 12 children to move the heavy weight with great effort without rollers, only took one decent pull from 1 child with rollers.
This led us to wonder how the Egyptians got the locks up higher. We found out they used ramps to do this, so we tried it ourselves.
Our inquiry is not over. Like people throughout history, we will continue to wonder at these ancient wonders of the world and we hope you do too.
Keywords: wondering, pyramids, Ancient Egyptians