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A Trip To The City of Giza- A Discussion That Brought Geography, History & Science Together.

History textbooks often provide the basic information about the pyramids. At the Young Readers' Club, we are rarely satisfied with basic information. We love pondering, asking questions and finding answers.

Geography fans on the Young Readers' Club insisted upon having a geography party to mark the beginning of the new year! A subject based party generally entails all the members choosing to name themselves in tune with the subject theme and in all probability reading something connected to the chosen subject theme.

A Trip To The Great Pyramids of Giza

Being a geography party, it was only natural that we would begin by locating the city of Giza on the world map. Once we did that we went on to talk about the weather based on the location and the resulting facets of this place. We went on to imagine how it would have been like 100s of years ago when modern day transport did not exist leading to the central question in the discussion- How did they transport the limestones that were used to build the pyramids?

How did they transport the limestones that were used to build the pyramids?

After a brief silence, one of the readers joked that perhaps people were extremely strong and muscular and carried it by themselves. This was followed by another few moments of silence. I imagined that someone would say that these limestones were transported on carts or on animals. Instead one of the readers pointed out that they would have used waterways as a mode of transport. He went on to add that since the famous Nile flowed through Egypt, limestones would have been transported on ships. In response another reader pointed out that there were no water ways visible in the vicinity of the pyramids and hence that may not have been the case. The child who proposed that the Nile would have been used, went on to support his point of view by quoting a scene from a movie that he had watched. Ideas and connections emerge from a variety of sources, both visual as well as verbal.

Ideas and connections emerge from a variety of sources, both visual as well as verbal.

Having hit a wall in terms of ideas, we decided to find out information. We read an article

based on recent findings that provide clues to this mystery. It appears that the Nile had a branch that flowed close to the construction site. The limestones were transported on boats to the construction site. Another article showcased the theory that a man made canal brought water near the pyramids. The readers were fascinated to discover that the boats were built using ropes to keep pieces together and that the boats were like a giant jigsaw puzzle. They said it reminded them of building with Lego.

If there was a water way close to the construction site, where is it now?

At this point we went back to what we started our discussion with. The geographical location and its impact on the weather in the location. We deduced together that being close to the equator, this place is hot and dry. Thereby it is likely that the branch of the Nile must have dried up over the years. We discovered that our theory was proven right when we went back to the curated articles and looked for relevant information.

Discussion for another day

While we were thrilled to find out that our theory was right, it led us to ponder about another pertinent question. The branch of the Nile existed at one point in time in history. But it later ceased to exist and we blame it on the extreme heat. Is the reason to be explored more in detail? Is there a lesson we can use for the future?

Closing note

The young readers were asked what they thought the purpose of these pyramids were. After all it took so much effort and time (85 years) to complete. I was expecting textbook reply in the lines of these were tombs or a symbol of the royalty. Instead I got these responses-

  • The construction of the pyramids symbolises the fact that persistent hard work pays off well.

  • The process would have involved a lot of experimentation and learning leaving room for possible upgrades in the future.

There is a lot we can learn together, if only we have open minds.

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”― George Bernard Shaw

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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-11 age group, the Young Writers' Club program for the 12-14 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.

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