Before we jump in too much to Ancient Egypt and its history, people, and religion, it is important that you have at least some understanding of how Egypt came to be and the Ancient World in general. I don't have time to get into all of this in class though I will discuss it briefly. Therefore I offer you these resources, and by "resources" I mean videos. You Tube videos actually. What? That's right, there's more than just Gangnam Style and other mind-rotting garbage on YouTube. In fact, YouTube, if you know how to properly search and select appropriate material, is the closest thing we have today to a video world encyclopedia.
Anyway, to really understand Ancient Egypt, you need to go back to about 15,000 years ago to something called the Agricultural Revolution. It was here that farming and the domestication of animals for food began and radically changed what it meant to be human. In short, the Agricultural Revolution made civilization possible. It made Ancient Egypt possible, China possible, and all that cheap yummy stuff at 7-11 possible. Watch the video below to get a great overview of the Agricultural Revolution.
(These videos by the way are part of the Crash Course World History series which can be found at http://www.youtube.com/crashcourse. They are no substitute for a good book on world history, but they nonetheless awesome. Watch them all if you have time.)
This next video is about Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia is the area between and around the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the Middle East. We know this area today as Iraq (and parts of Turkey.) The earliest human civilizations began here and in the Indus River Valley in India. This area is close to Egypt, and knowing about it is important in understanding how amazing Ancient Egypt was.
Here is the video on Ancient Egypt. We will go a little bit more into detail about Egypt than this video does, but it gives you a good overview of civilization, how special it was, and how long it hung around. Enjoy.