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In The Classroom:

Walk like an ancient Egyptian

Sixth-graders become actors to learn more about ancient history.

November 24, 2008|By Michael Alexander

The Greeks, Egyptians and Romans were neck-and-neck in their race to get one kid mummified first. Kids on all three teams, dressed in togas, headdresses and even Egyptian pharaoh beards, ran at top speed, covering their classmates in toilet paper.

“Remember to wrap your mummy from head to toe,” said Joey Mascio, who supervised the mummification.

But after Mascio called time and handed out points to each team, he slipped into an explanation: “The priest will reach inside and — ‘shhhrp’ — pull out the organs and intestines, and put everything in jars.” Then, making a slow beating sound into the microphone, he continued, “They take everything but the heart.”

“Ewww!” several students said.

This gory series of events was just one part of the Sixth-Grade Walk Through the Ancient World, a competition at Newport Heights Elementary that had students performing skits, taking quizzes and even taking on the character of ancient figures for short presentations.

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“Hi, my name’s Julius Caesar. I came, I saw, I conquered,” Gigi Woodall said. “Fearing that I would make myself king, the Senate assassinated me.”

The 2 1/2 -hour program covered thousands of years of history. That breakneck pace is a feature, not a bug, said Mascio, who works for education company California Weekly Explorer, which offers programs like this one statewide.

“It’s all about getting the kids involved in their education,” he said. “They’re hearing things, doing things, seeing things — there’s something for just about every learning style they might have.”

Teacher Adrienne Urban, whose class was doing the Walk Through Ancient History on Monday, said her students had spent two weeks designing their skits, working on costumes and learning lines.

“The kids do everything,” she said. “All I did was improve things and make sure the skits covered the material.”

As the Greek team explained in its skit how the ancients had organized the Olympics to settle rivalries among city-states without violence, the material seemed covered.

“Eighty-five points!” Mascio yelled.

KIDS TALK BACK

“What did you like most about the Walk through Ancient History?”

“My favorite part was going up as my character and speaking. My character was Romulus.”

Jack Mooers, 11

“My favorite part was the characters. I was Paul, the guy who brought Christianity to the Romans.”

Reed Rutter, 10

“Wearing my costume. I got to put on this bird headdress thing. I was [Egyptian sun god] Ra.”

Carter Scott, 11

“Getting to be wrapped in toilet paper in the mummy game.”

Griffin Sharp, 11

“The skits were my favorite part. My team was the Greeks.”

Reme Immegart, 11


MICHAEL ALEXANDER may be reached at (714) 966-4618 or at michael.alexander@latimes.com.

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