The sight that greeted the class was one met with incredulity. As the hobbling strides of one Dr. Arnold Schrondinger rustled against the classroom floor toward the centre of the room, so did chatterings of confusion waft in his wake.
Today, it was not Mr Andy Ng that stepped into the class for the first lesson on Ancient Egypt. He had gone for a course, and had invited his Austrian friend who was a professor in Egyptology… Or did he? Who was this man? Where was Mr Ng?
It doesn’t really matter, as the eccentric Egyptologist guest had a task for our young learners: to decode an ancient painting on papyrus he had carted precariously all the way from Cairo, one that has confounded Egyptologists for decades…
It was up to our aspiring Egyptologists to decode the meaning behind the painting, using their deductive reasoning skills from resources from the Net and their knowledge on ancient Egypt.
After persevering through, students draw the conclusion that the Egyptians believed that in the afterlife, the heart of the dead was measured against the feather of Ma’at, which represented justice. If the heart is lighter than the feather, representing that one had led a life of righteousness, one would be able to pass into the afterlife.
Our young learners also deduced that this belief ensured that people would be wary of their deeds while they were alive – perhaps a religious governing technique to ensure social stability that in turned, defined aspects of the Egyptian way of life.
In Singapore there is also a tendency to view subjects as separate, exclusive disciplines. Math and Science do not cross paths with the Social Studies.
Students unlearnt this mindset as they used modern science experiments to find out how the Egyptian sundial and water clock worked 5000 years ago, and Mathematics to appreciate the profound accuracies of the Pyramids of Giza and the exquisite skill of its architects and builders!
Of course, like the true identity of Dr. Arnold Schrodinger, the mysteries of Ancient Egypt had only just begun…
How did the Egyptians deliver two-tonne Pyramid stone blocks to their destination at 5 stones per minute? How is it that the four sides of the Pyramids align precisely to the four cardinal directions? How is it that the latitude of the Pyramids tally with the numeric value of the speed of light up to 4 decimal points?
By coincidence? Or by design? Let the intrigue begin.