Preparing Boys for Life

Third graders virtually meet with Penn Museum archeologist as part of Egypt unit

Boys in Mrs. Thorburn and Mrs. Heavey’s third grade classes virtually met Dr. Steve Phillips, an archeologist with vast experience working on sites in Egypt. Dr. Phillips, who serves as the Curatorial Research Coordinator for the Egypt Section at the Penn Museum, shared historical facts about ancient Egypt and described his many archeological digs in Egypt. 

The conversation was part of a broader unit focusing on ancient Egypt. “Dr. Phillips captivated the boys during his presentation on ancient Egypt and on his many archeological digs,” said Kate Thorburn and Trish Heavey, third grade teachers. “He uses a presentation style focused on storytelling, which allows the boys to have a first hand experience of ancient history.” 

Phillips described his work of excavating 4,500-year-old Egyptian tombs, the purpose of mummification in the burial process, and the many religious and cultural traditions honored by ancient Egyptians. For example, Phillips and his team often note the direction a mummy is facing during an excavation, because many mummy remains are facing east, toward the rising sun, which is an important aspect of ancient Egypt’s burial traditions. 

The boys also learned about the science behind archeology and the methods that Phillips uses to determine things like a mummy’s gender, age, or cause of death.