When you start to study ancient civilisations whether it’s the Egyptians, Mayans or Ancient Korea pyramids are a feature of them around the world. They are a great opportunity to combine a little history and a lot of maths in creative ways. So here we go a fun step-by-step guide on how to make a pyramid with learning opportunities for both maths and history.
Pyramids in Ancient Civilizations
Pyramids were a feature of many Ancient Civilizations from the Egyptians with the famous pyramids of Giza which were tombs of the great Pharaohs to Mesoamerican cultures like the Mayan found in Mexico.
Are you studying Mayan History? Then why not make your own Mayan Hot Chocolate with our recipe for kids.
They were generally square-based and constructed so that although there were chambers inside they were mostly solid. Making them as part of a history unit study is a great way to review some mathematical concepts as well as to bring history to life.
Here we make a Giza pyramid like those found in Ancient Egypt as part of our Ancient Egypt Unit Study.
Sugar Block Pyramid
When the Egyptians built the pyramid they were bright white – unless you can easily get hold of 91 white 2×2 square Lego bricks then sugar cubes are the next best thing to use.
Make sure that your child’s hands are clean and that your surface is clean. You can use tongs to build the sugar pyramid that way these blocks can be reused again and again. Now lets get started making our model of the great pyramid.
Maths Knowledge Needed
Review – Multiplication and square numbers as well as 3d Shapes.
Why not use some multiplication eggs to quickly review this with your child.
Materials Needed for Building a Giza Pyramid
- White board and pens
- Sugar Cubes (you will need 91)
- Plate to place under the bottom of the pyramid
- Tongs if you wish to reuse the sugar cubes
Before you actually get building the pyramids with your child start by reviewing the look and appearance of the pyramids. You can start by picking up a book about ancient Egyptians or Mayans as part of your History Unit Study.
Get your child to draw how they think a pyramid looks. If your child is anything like the children I have done this with then you will find that they draw it in side profile.
Talk as they draw it about the shape is it 2 dimensional, 3 dimensional.
Now ask them to draw a view of the pyramid from the top down.
Notice how the pyramid is square shaped and each square is laid on top of the next getting smaller and smaller.
If you want you can try and draw a 3D version – you may find it easier to do using some Isometric paper – you can find some to download and print here.
Plan the Pyramid
We will be making our pyramid level by level.
The first level will be 6×6. Have your child write on their white board: Base 1- 6×6= 49
The second level will be 5×5. Have them repeat this process for each level remembering to minus one number for each level.
In the end, they can add up all the bases to figure out how many bricks they will need to use.
Build a Pyramid
Now it’s time to build, set up the area and start by building the 6×6 square base then gradually add on the different layers until 1 small brick remains at the top and you have a square based pyramid constructed.
Make sure that the bricks overlap slightly so that you can see the steps at the sides of the pyramid as it goes up forming a perfect pyramid shape.
Books about Pyramids for Kids
We have included affiliate links to some of the products and resources as an associate we may earn from qualifying purchases.
We love to connect hands-on learning with some reading check out these books about pyramids for kids of all ages you may also find out Egyptian Fiction Books a great read as well.
- National Geographic Readers Pyramids (Level 1) ~ for 4 – 6 year olds UK Amazon, US Amazon
- A Child’s Introduction to Egyptology ~ for 8 – 12 year olds UK Amazon, US Amazon
- Pyramid DK Eyewitness ~ for 8 – 12 year olds UK Amazon, US Amazon
More Ideas for Egypt Studies
Make your own clay cartouches with a Hieroglyphic name.
Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, teacher, mum, and home educator from the UK. She loves getting creative, whether it is with simple and easy crafts and ideas, activities to make learning fun, or delicious recipes that you and your kids can cook together you'll find them all shared here on Rainy Day Mum.