Discovering Democracy Units
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Use an atlas or a globe to locate each new country studied in this and future stories.

Focus question 2: Should one person rule?

Teaching and learning activities

Activity 1: Destination Ancient Egypt (10 min) ESL Activity 1
Activity 2: Pharaohs of Egypt (60 min) ESL Activity 2
Activity 3: Rights and responsibilities (20 min) ESL Activity 3
Activity 4: Power pyramid (25 min) ESL Activity 4
Activity 5: Time travel report number 1 (30 min) ESL Activity 5
Activity 6: Egyptian system (20 min) ESL Activity 6
Further activities  

Handout 1

Activity 1: Destination Ancient Egypt (10 min)

1a Ask students all they know and imagine about time machines.

1b Taking on the role of time travellers, students read Handout 1.

1c Students make notes on Handout 1 as they complete Activities 2-4.

Activity 2: Pharaohs of Egypt (60 min)

2a Read the following aloud to the class:

'Pharaoh', meaning 'great house' symbolises the ruler as head of all Ancient Egypt and the people therein - the ruler of one house.
Imagine one day you are walking home on the same old street, past the same old buildings you see every day when suddenly, your eye catches something strange. There was never a door there before, was there? No! And certainly not a door made of ... what? Metal? Shining like a hologram. As you reach out to touch the door, it slowly begins to open, inviting you inside. Then you turn around to leave but outside, it's thousands of years in the past. Imagine a land of sand and stone, stretched out along rich, riverside soil reaching to the Mediterranean Sea. Imagine giant building blocks so huge they seem impossible to move. Imagine backbreaking work (with no pay), making a monumental pyramid for a ruler related to the gods. Imagine this is your life.

Handout 2

2b Distribute Handout 2 and ask the class to look only at the picture, not the words.

  • What is the Pharaoh holding?
  • What do you think each of these things tells you about the Pharaoh?

2c Read the captions to the class to confirm the meaning of the symbols of power.

2d Write the following on the board:

  • Who decided the laws in Ancient Egypt?
  • Who had total control in Ancient Egypt?
  • Why did the people allow the Pharaoh to have so much power?
  • What kind of powers did the people of Ancient Egypt believe the Pharaoh had?

Students find answers on Handout 2.

2e Hold a class discussion of the questions. Handout 3

2f Distribute Handout 3 to the class.

  • Who helped the Pharaoh to rule Ancient Egypt?
  • Who are some of the people the Pharaoh ruled over?
  • What are some of the rights these people had?

Monarchy is leadership handed down from father/mother to son/daughter.

2g Ask students: 'What is another word for a ruler who inherits his or her position?' Introduce the term 'monarch' via the notion of kings and queens.

2h Ensure students understand that kings and queens are chosen by birth rather than election by asking how they think someone becomes a monarch.

Activity 3: Rights and responsibilities (20 min)

Handout 4 3a Divide the class into groups of four.

3b Hand out to each group one set of the eight boxes cut out from Handout 4, a piece of paper and glue.

3c Explain that as a group, students are to read and then match each of the four 'You are allowed to ...' pieces to the correct 'You have to ...' pieces and to glue them side by side.

Activity 4: Power pyramid (25 min)

Handout 2-4

4a Direct students to their copies of Handouts 2 and 3. They are to find the title of one occupation that would have each of the four matching rights 'You are allowed to ...' and responsibilities 'You have to ...'.

4b Students write the correct occupation name beside each glued pair from Activity 3 above.

4c Students create a power pyramid, showing the hierarchy of the four occupations (see Handout 4).

Activity 5: Time travel report number 1 (30 min)

Handout 1 Stories of Democracy

5a Using the information gathered on Handout 1, students prepare a brief report on Ancient Egypt in the form of a voice mail or fax message.

5b Students deliver their report to the whole class or to small groups.

Activity 6: Egyptian system (20 min)

Some students could now use the Stories of Democracy CD ROM.

6a Review decision-making in Ancient Egypt.

  • Could anyone change a Pharaoh's decision? What if all the slaves in Egypt wanted to change a Pharaoh's decision, could they?
  • What kind of rights did the Pharaoh have compared to the other people of Egypt?
  • What do you think about everything, including the people, belonging to the Pharaoh? (List the reasons for and against.)
  • What sort of power did the Pharaohs have as rulers?

Although, theoretically, Pharaohs' powers were absolute, even they listened to advisers and followed strict traditional codes of behaviour.

6b Explain that the total power to make laws and hand out punishment is called absolute power.

  • The Egyptian system was based on the Pharaoh's absolute power. What do you think about this system? Is it fair?

Further activities

  • Students can investigate modern monarchies like those of Thailand or the United Kingdom to discover the sort of power they exercise.
  • Make a monarchy mobile illustrating elements of this system. Students must describe their selection of elements.

ESL activities

Back to 'Stories of the People and Rulers - At a glance'

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