Mysteries of Egypt come to life

The Middlebrook School parking lot was full, so cars were lining up on School Road for people to be transported from Wilton to Egypt. Once visitors were inside rooms 115-116 in the 6Y wing, artifacts created by students made the transformation complete.

The project, in the classrooms of sixth grade teachers Luisa Nanos and Thomas Koch, was a combined effort.

“This is the culmination of an interdisciplinary unit,” Ms. Nanos said. “All of the teachers connect their lessons to ancient Egypt.”

Each student created an individual item, stretching from jewelry to geographic models to musical instruments to art and more.

“Hello, my name is Olivia Benjamin, and I’ll be your tour guide today. Let’s start with my project, the Nile River.”

Olivia made a working model of the famed river, which is more than 4,000 miles long. She used a pump, and running water flowed in a loop.

“It’s the first project I ever had that needed an electrical outlet,” Ms. Nanos said with a chuckle.

“It took me around 17 days,” Olivia added. “Every day, I worked a lot.”

“The students went all out,” said Ms. Nanos. “There are replicas like things that I’ve seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”

The program included a musical performance from a string group playing an Egyptian piece, and each class in the group heard a talk by Jennifer Reese, a freelance museum educator at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ms. Reese, whose son Aidan attends Middlebrook, spoke on “What’s Egyptian About Egyptian Art?”

So, what exactly is Egyptian?

“Egyptian art has order and clarity, but there are really so many things,” Ms. Reese said. “All of the objects are made for the afterlife. It’s a love of eternity. They make things that will last. They also have a love of color and patterns.”

The fascination with ancient Egyptian art and culture exploded with the arrival of the King Tut exhibition in the United States in 1976. According to Ms. Reese, that fascination hasn’t waned at all for students who love to study it.

“Their minds are just ripe for this information,” she said. “It’s cool.”

Mr. Koch stood with an Egyptian headpiece on in his classroom, which made him a popular camera subject for parents and students alike.

“The students are writing myths, which will be buried in a time capsule when the weather is nicer. Today is the culmination of several weeks of project work.”

Each student was required to do a project and write a paragraph about each subject. Nicholas Koenigsberger made a model of King Tut’s diadem, a crown that was worn by the boy king.

“The teachers were very patient,” he said. “They helped us a lot. My favorite part was making the artifact. It was different.”

Each sixth grade class visited the exhibition, with some students taking notes to continue to learn more about the many wonders and mysteries of ancient Egypt.

“It’s really been a great adventure for all of us,” added Nicholas.