Save the Sphinx!

Save the Sphinx! lesson plan

Egypt’s Great Sphinx may be the original lion king! Join archaeologists working to conserve this amazing ancient monument.

  • 1.

    Explore the ancient Egyptian treasure, the Great Sphinx. The 4,500-year-old monument has a king’s head and a lion’s body. Find out what it was made of and how it was constructed. What were the builders’ challenges? Look at several paintings and pictures. Use Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils to sketch the Great Sphinx from different angles and in detail. To make corrections, just erase!

  • 2.

    <STRONG>You’re the builder!</STRONG> Plan how to construct a model of the Great Sphinx. Will you build it as it looked originally or as it looks today? This is how we built our replica, but you may have other ideas.

  • 3.

    <STRONG>Shape your Sphinx.</STRONG> Construct a base (armature) using small boxes and balls of newspaper. Tape pieces in place. Layer white Crayola Model Magic over the armature. Add a face, headdress, beard, and other details. Use a craft stick to make fine lines. Texture the structure with a comb or other tool. Air-dry your sphinx overnight.

  • 4.

    <STRONG>Paint the sculpture.</STRONG> Cover your art area with newspaper. Mix gold, white, and brown Crayola Premier Tempera to get an authentic limestone color. Paint the Sphinx with Crayola Brushes. Air-dry the paint.

  • 5.

    <STRONG>Save the Sphinx!</STRONG> The Great Sphinx is not faring very well today. Investigate how the environment and human behavior has affected the monument. If you were an anthropologist, how would you recommend saving the Sphinx? Write your ideas on c


  • Students research how ancient builders overcame great obstacles to erect Egypt’s Great Sphinx.
  • Students build their own models of the Great Sphinx and explain their work to other classes.
  • Students investigate the deterioration of the Great Sphinx over time and efforts made to restore the monument before brainstorming ways to preserve, protect, and rebuild it.


  • Younger children and those with special needs may benefit from working in pairs or groups. When planning the model, identify who will be responsible for each part of the effort.
  • To make a pedestal for the Great Sphinx, use a recycled foam produce tray. Write on it with Crayola Gel Markers.
  • On a map, plot the location of the Great Sphinx in relationship to the pyramids. Find Egypt on a map of Africa and identify where these structures are found in the country.
  • What is limestone? Identify other natural and sculpted limestone treasures. How have environmental and human factors transformed them? Explore other efforts to preserve, protect, and rebuild monuments.
  • Assessment: Observe accuracy of sculpture. Look for original, ingenious preservation ideas.