I’m always on the lookout for web sites that offer free educational resources, so I was delighted to find a web site that enables you to make a scale model pyramid. If you are doing a project on Egypt, you’ll love this site! It has a printable full-color template and step-by-step instructions to assemble the four sheets into a remarkably realistic small pyramid. It’s really a scale model, too, with the correct angle for the sides so that it’s the shape of the Great Pyramid.
Not only are the instructions easy to follow, but there are photographs of each step showing exactly how to hold parts together, where to tape, and so forth. The template fits on a standard 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of printer paper and looks very realistic because it has a stone pattern derived from a photo of an ancient stone wall.
The link to the Make An Egyptian Pyramid web site is at the bottom of this page, and it’s also included under Free Stuff. Suggestion: Using the scale option on your printer, print out two more sets of the template slightly smaller, make two more pyramids, get a tray and some sand, and set up a nice diorama of the three Great Pyramids!
You can also construct larger pyramid models with the help of a second set of instructions on the same web page, but you’ll have to do a little more work. The second set of instructions tells how to make a skeleton for a pyramid using eight drinking straws, which you then could cover with paper and decorate. The key is that the four straws slanting up from the corners to the top must be slightly shorter than the four forming the square base. Otherwise, the pyramid will come out too tall and steep. The Make A Larger Pyramid section of the page includes instructions on how much to shorten those straws and how to tie them together into a pyramid shape. There is a printable sheet of the stone pattern to make the outer cover.
Suggestions: See if you can find longer straws, the kind used with a 32-oz. drink. Try looking in a party store, or go to your local restaurant and beg! You could also try following the large pyramid instructions using thin dowels, chop sticks, or kite sticks for the skeleton. In that case, you’ll have to use something to join up the corners, maybe some modeling clay that hardens at room temperature.
Using The Pyramid Calculator
Your other challenge in making larger pyramids is calculating how much shorter the upper sticks or straws need to be. The Make An Egyptian Pyramid page has that covered, too! Look for a link to a Pyramid Calculator in the caption under the photo of the completed pyramid, at the start of the step-by-step instructions. That link goes to a page on a Nova® web site where you can enter various dimensions. Don’t panic! You only need to enter any two.
One dimension to enter is the angle, which for Egyptian pyramids happens to be 51.5 degrees. (They worked it out the hard way: Any steeper, and the pyramid fell down!) So enter that number for the f/b angle. Then for the base, put in the length of your chopstick, straw, or kite stick. Hit Calculate, and make a note of the value for the slant edge (not the slant height). That’s how long you should make the shorter sticks!
More Pyramid Texture Sheets
I’ve prepared two additional stone pattern sheets you can download from this page and print. These print out 8.5 by 14, legal-size paper, so you won’t have to print so many sheets to cover a larger pyramid. One of them is similar to the pattern sheet on the Make An Egyptian Pyramid page, but with slightly smaller stones so it’s a little closer to scale.
The other sheet is a white stone pattern. Why white? Because we are only looking at the ruins of the pyramids today. When they were new, the brownish stones we see today were covered with smooth, thin sheets of white stone to make a pretty finished surface. And, just to add the final elegant touch, the very top few rows were covered with sheets of gold! So if you want a model of the pyramid the way it looked to the ancient Egyptians, cover your straws skeleton with the white stones pattern paper and put gold paper or paint on the top inch or so.
But that’s enough description. Click the link below, print out the pyramid template, and get started on a fun history project!
Application needed: Web Browser, PhotoShop or other graphics app
Subject area: History.
Level: Teacher, Grades 1-7.
Online Link-How To
CLICK HERE for the Make An Egyptian Pyramid Model web page.
Note: This page is a sub-page from one with instructions for making a “pyramid” kite. The author got so many requests for instructions on how to make a real pyramid that she added the Make an Egyptian Pyramid instructions. So don’t be confused by the main headline, How to Make A Pyramid Kite. You’re in the right place!
PyramidTextureSheets.zip (3.1 MB) Two JPEG files with stone patterns, one sand color and one white. Print out on legal size (8.5 by 14) paper.