Lesson Plans

Life After Death

Lesson plan based on Model Boat

Choose and create objects needed for a productive afterlife in ancient Egypt.

Skills and Focus: Art History, Writing

Subject Area: Fine Arts

Thematic Connection: The Afterlife

Grade Level: Middle School

Time Needed: 80 minutes


• Explain how the model boat reflects the people and customs of ancient Egypt.

• Describe the role boats played in ancient Egyptian daily life and the afterlife.

• Identify a variety of other objects used in the afterlife by ancient Egyptians and recreate them in class using paint or clay.

Instructional Materials Needed

Stories: Boats in Ancient Egypt and Models as Substitutes

Modeling clay


11 x 17" sheets of paper

Tempera paint in a variety of colors


Small containers for rinsing brushes


Step 1: Discuss the ancient Egyptian practice of placing objects like this model boat in tombs for use in the afterlife. Boats were an integral part of daily life as the main mode of transportation, and thus would be important for people to take with them to the afterlife.

Step 2: Ask the class to fill the ancient tomb that contained this boat with other objects needed for a productive afterlife, based on their knowledge of life in ancient Egypt. Each student should suggest one object from the following categories:

• Buildings

• Food and drink

• Leisure or entertainment activities

• People

• Animals

Step 3: Ask students to recreate the objects in clay or paint.

Step 4: Finally, have students write a short, first-person account from the point of view of the object they sculpted or painted, titled "My Role in the Afterlife" Display the objects around the classroom and discuss how each was of value to the ancient Egyptians.

Adapted from Model Boat discussion and activity in The Art Institute of Chicago Teacher Packet, Art on the Move, 1996.


This activity meets Illinois State Goal 26: Through creating and performing, understand how works of art are produced.

This activity meets Illinois State Goal 27: Understand the role of the arts in civilizations, past and present.

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