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Lesson Plan: Take It to the Afterlife

An ancient Egyptian model of a workers working in a bakery grinding grain and making dough, and workers working in a brewery

Model Bakery and Brewery from the Tomb of Meketre
Middle Kingdom, Dynasty 12, reign of Amenemhat I, ca. 1981–1975 b.c.
Wood, gesso, paint, linen; 28 3/4 x W. 21 5/8 x H. 11 7/16 in. (73 x 55 x 29 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Rogers Fund and Edward S. Harkness Gift, 1920 (20.3.12)

Collection Area: Egyptian Art
Subject Areas: English Language Arts, Visual Arts, World History
Grades: Elementary School, Middle School, High School
Topics/Themes: The Art of Belief, Art and Writing


Students will be able to:
  • use art as a primary resource to learn more about daily life and the afterlife in ancient Egypt;
  • use visual evidence to support interpretations of works of art; and
  • use drawing as a form of note-taking.

National Learning Standards

English Language Arts
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.5 Communication Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge

Visual Arts
NA-VA.K-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating a Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
NA-VA.K-12.4 Understanding the Visual Arts in Relation to History and Cultures
NA-VA.K-12.6 Making Connections between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

World History
NSS-WH.5-12.2 Era 2: Early Civilizations and the Emergence of Pastoral Peoples, 4000–1000 b.c.e.

Common Core State Standards

English Language Arts
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.*
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.W.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.SL.2 Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

*Art as text

Questions for Viewing

  • Take a moment to look closely. What do you notice?
  • Focus on one figure. Use your body to recreate his or her pose. What do you notice as you move into position? If this scene came to life, how might the figure move?
  • Note the item the figure is holding. What function might this object have? How might it be used?
  • Based on the information you've gathered, how would you describe this person's job?
  • Take a look at the other figures in the scene. What similarities and differences do you notice?
  • How would you describe the relationship between the figures? What do you see that makes you say that?
  • If you worked in this shop, which job would you want? Why?
  • This ancient Egyptian model of workers brewing beer and baking bread was found in the tomb of an important government official named Meketre. What does this object add to your understanding of daily life and the belief in an afterlife in ancient Egypt?


Activity Setting: Museum
Materials: Paper, pencil, and clipboard
Subject Areas: English Language Arts, Visual Arts, World History
Duration: 30 minutes

Explore other items from Meketre's tomb such as Scribes from Meketre's model granary (20.3.11), Group of offering bearers (20.3.8), or Traveling boat being rowed (20.3.1) on view in the Egyptian galleries. Spend some time with one of the objects and sketch what you see. As you work, make notes along the edge of your drawing to highlight key features. Compare and contrast your findings with your peers. What does this object add to your understanding of daily life and the belief in an afterlife in ancient Egypt?


"Bakers and Brewers from Meketre's model bakery [Egyptian; From the tomb of Meketre, western Thebes] (20.3.12)." In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2006)

Pre-Visit Guide for Teachers: Art of Ancient Egypt (PDF)

Roehrig, Catharine H. "Life along the Nile: Three Egyptians of Ancient Thebes." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 60, no. 1 (Summer 2002): 1, 3, 6–56.

Sloan, Christopher. Bury the Dead: Tombs, Corpses, Mummies, Skeletons & Rituals. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2002.

Watts, Edith. The Art of Ancient Egypt: A Resource for Educators. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998. Download the resource.

Objects in the Museum's Collection Related to this Lesson

Animal pen with figures
Eastern Han dynasty (a.d. 25–220), 1st–early 3rd century a.d.
Earthenware with green lead glaze; H. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm); W. 14 3/4 in. (37.5 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Charlotte C. and John C. Weber Collection, Gift of Charlotte C. and John C. Weber, 1994 (1994.605.21)

Marble grave stele of a little girl
About 450–440 b.c.
Parian marble; H. 31 1/2 in. (80 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Fletcher Fund, 1927 (27.45)

Authors: Sofia Gans and Claire Moore
Affiliation: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Date: 2010

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