Lesson Plan: Kheperi and the Rising Sun


A large, tan, broken piece of an ancient Egyptian column. Carved into the stone fragment is an Egyptian man facing left. Half of a scarab beetle is above his head, broken off at the edge of the fragment. To the right are hieroglyphs.
Kheperi, the Rising Sun, (New Kingdom, 19th dynasty). 1314 BCE - 1197 BCE. Limestone column fragment in low relief. Museum Purchase through the Art Acquisition Fund. 1968-7-1


Materials for activity: paper, twigs, rocks, scissors, tape or glue, coloring materials, permanent marker or paint
Create your own scarab! Here are the materials you will need.


Step One: To make legs, tape or glue twigs to the bottom of the rock. After attaching legs, flip the rock over.
Step #1: Legs


Step Two: Decoration. Decorate your beetle.
Step #2: Decorate your scarab!


Finished! Depending on what materials you have at home, you can design all different kinds of scarabs!
Finished! What other kinds of scarabs can you make?
Teacher Resource

Discover the connection between the sun, the scarab beetle, and the ancient Egyptian god, Kheperi. Use materials from home to create your own scarab!

Take a Look

  • Look at the picture of this object. What do you see?
  • You may notice that the object has broken edges. It is very old. When it was made 3,000 years ago, it was most likely part of a column on an ancient Egyptian temple!
  • The column was made out of limestone, and the symbols we see were all carved by hand into the stone.



  • We can see different pictures and symbols on the object that help us understand what life might have been like in Egypt thousands of years ago.
  • Look at the pictures carved on the right side. These symbols are called hieroglyphs!
  • Hieroglyphics are the ancient Egyptian form of writing that was used thousands of years ago. Each hieroglyph can represent a letter or word.
  • Because the object is broken, we only have a little information about what some of the hieroglyphs might mean.
  • Do you see the circle on the right side of the object? If you look under the circle, you can see a vertical bar. To the right of these hieroglyphs is a hieroglyph of a kneeling man.
    • When these three hieroglyphs are combined together, they represent the words "sun god."
  • The large man on the left side of the object is the god of the rising sun. His name is Kheperi.



  • What do you see above Kheperi’s head?
  • Although the object is broken, we can see part of a beetle above Kheperi's head. This beetle is known as a scarab, or dung beetle.
    • Want to learn more about dung beetles? Click here to watch a video from National Geographic.
  • The dung beetle was called "kheperer" in ancient Egyptian. By watching the dung beetles roll balls of dung, the ancient Egyptians made a connection to what looked like the sun moving across the sky during the day.
  • Kheperi, the god of the rising sun, was thought to be rolling the sun across the sky like a dung beetle rolling a ball of dung!



Click through the images in the slideshow above or download the instructions to create your own scarab at home!

  • If you were an ancient Egyptian god connected to nature, what would your power be?
  • What creature would represent you?


Explore more artwork from ancient Egypt at Krannert Art Museum

Offering Scene

Egyptian, ca. 2325 BCE - 2160 BCE

(Old Kingdom, 6th dynasty)

Incised limestone relief


Statuette of Isis and Horus

Egyptian, ca. 751 BCE - 525 BCE

(25th to 26th dynasty)

Bronze figurine


The Funerary Figure of Ptah-Solar-Osiris

Egyptian, ca. 50 BCE - 50 CE

(Ptolemaic or Roman Period)

Wood, plaster, and paint figurine