Study Questions • Discussion Topics
Activity 1: Chart the Sun
Activity 2: Build a Sundial
1. How did the ancient Egyptians believe the universe was created?
2. Why were the rhythms of the sky so important to the Egyptians?
3. Where was the ancient village of Nabta, and how long ago was it inhabited?
4. Why was the summer solstice such an important time for the inhabitants of Nabta?
5. How do scientists believe the inhabitants of Nabta were able to predict the coming of the summer solstice?
6. Where, precisely, does the Sun rise on the first day of summer, and how is this different from every other day of the year.
7. At what time of year can you stand near the Sphinx and see the Sun set between the two largest pyramids of Giza?
8. When was the Great Pyramid of Egypt built, and what ruler ordered its construction?
9. What did the ancient Egyptians call their rulers, and how were those rulers connected to their gods?
10. What was the purpose of the pyramids of Egypt?
11. What do scientists believe that the pyramids of Egypt symbolized?
12. In Egyptian mythology, who was Re
13. How did the Egyptians explain the motions of the Sun? Did they have more than one explanation for the Sun?
14. Toward what celestial objects did the "shafts" found in the Great Pyramid point? Why were those objects significant?
15. What was the importance of the star Thuban in ancient Egypt? What star holds a place of similar importance today?
16. Why does the star that marks the north celestial pole keep changing?
17. What was the significance to the Egyptians of the constellation we call Orion?
18. Why was the flooding of the Nile so important to the ancient Egyptians?
19. What celestial events did the Egyptians use to predict when the Nile was going to flood?
20. What planets did the Egyptians asssociate with their sky god, Horus?
21. How did the Egyptians see the Milky Way?
22. What did the Egyptians call the star we call Siruis?
23. Why was Sirius so important to the Egyptians?
24. Why did the formal Egyptian calendar get "out of sync" with the seasons?
25. Describe the two different calendars the Egyptians used.
26. How often did the two Egyptian calendars coincide?
27. How did Amenhotep IV (later Akhenaten) try to change Egyptian religion?
28. Who was Akhenaten's famous successor?