For Whitfield’s youngest students, our philosophy on Scholarship materialized through their final unit of the year, about archeology and Ancient Egypt. With teachers as educational facilitators—providing a framework and foundation for learning while letting students take the lead—in sixth grade social studies, students learn about the different branches of social sciences including history, archaeology, geography, economics, and sociology.
With an emphasis on how to learn, rather than memorization, sixth graders use primary and secondary sources, fiction and nonfiction, art, film, and hands-on activities, to research and discover why and how the past affects the world today. Through their work they are learning to be curious, to understand, to draw connections and conclusions.
Students studied Egyptian mythology and read a graphic adaptation of the novel “The Red Pyramid”. To complement their examination of the process of mummification and the beliefs surrounding that practice, students participated in a hands-on project in which they mummified Cornish hens. During the month-long experiment, students shared responsibilities in changing the preservation materials, monitoring, and recording the process.
To wrap up the unit, sixth graders enjoyed a field trip to the Saint Louis Art Museum to explore the “Sunken Cities: Egypt’s Lost Worlds” exhibit.
“Seeing the ‘Sunken Cities’ exhibit at the Art Museum was a highlight for everyone,” said faculty member Mary Schnitzler. “Our students had the opportunity to view hundreds of authentic artifacts, including colossal sculptures, gold coins and jewelry, bronze vessels and objects inscribed in the ancient Egyptian and Greek languages. It was a great way to connect our students with one of the greatest discoveries in underwater archeology.”