Wednesday, January 14, 2004
One hundred and sixty-five Egyptian-garbed sixth-graders filed into the multi-purpose room at Hood River Middle School for a special feast on Friday afternoon. They were culminating a six-week study of ancient Egypt by dressing, eating and “walking like an Egyptian.”
This is the sixth year that Hood River Middle School’s sixth grade teachers have given their students this opportunity to learn about the era of pyramids, hieroglyphics and mummies. New this year was a life-size paper pyramid built by the students and led by Tom Merriam, whose daughter Bridget is in the sixth grade.
“It was a two-week project; each class made 72 rolled-up paper tubes and then it took 50 kids two hours to assemble it,” Merriam said. The project doubled as a math lesson; he involved the students in calculating how many tubes it would take and how they would need to go together to create a geodesic pyramid. The final structure was covered with paper and decorated with hieroglyphics.
Individual projects were displayed on a long table — pyramids made of sugar cubes, wooden blocks, sand, Legos, and foil; scrolls, a sarcophagus, travel brochures and more. Projects were assigned a point value — by doing more complicated projects or a large number of smaller ones, kids could earn the status of pharoah. Lesser point totals earned lower status, such as pharoah’s family, pharoah’s advisors, official tax collectors, scribes, and slaves (“skilled workers”).
For the feast, the students dressed in linen robes and tunics and wore jewelry, headgear and make-up of the period. They paraded around the room and did their best Egyptian pose in front of the four judges, who had the unenviable task of choosing the best costumes.
“I wouldn’t want to be the judge,” sixth-grade teacher Wendy Fisk said. “It would be very hard.”
The judges handled it by naming lots of winners.
“We picked two from each group of five — there’s a ‘cast of thousands,’” said May Street Elementary School’s principal Dan Patton, one of the judges.
Pharoahs were served at a table, eating from gold plates and drinking sparkling cider from goblets. The others were not so fortunate.
“We get to eat at a table — the other people have to eat on the ground,” Alex Marchesi said. In addition, the others had to settle for plain apple juice and regular cups.
The fare — olives, pita bread, falafel, tzatziki, hummus, pomegranate and more — was a little new to many of the kids but not all turned up their noses at it.
“It’s awesome — it’s all awesome,” according to Sam Kopecky, who was clearly enjoying his place at the pharoah’s table.
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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"
Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge