Easter Island Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

Instructor: Jeremy Cook

I have been teaching elementary school for 16 years. I have extensive experience in lesson and curriculum development and educational technology.

There's an island in the Pacific where the ancient people built strange statues that no one can fully explain. Learn where Easter Island is found and what these statues look like. This lesson will help you to unravel the clues of this strange place.

What Is Easter Island?

Easter Island is a tiny island in the south Pacific Ocean. It's just about 14 miles long and 7 miles wide at its widest point. And it is over 1000 miles away from any other land!

Even though Easter Island is so tiny, there are a lot of cool things to learn about it. For example, it has three volcanoes, including a huge one with a neat name: Terevaka. Actually, Easter Island has another interesting-sound name too: Rapa Nui. This is also the name of the people who are originally from the island. Today about 5,000 people total live there, and most of them are still the original Rapa Nui people.

Being in the middle of the ocean, having volcanoes, and using two names are not the only interesting things about Easter Island. There is something even more fascinating. Found all over the small island are statues of enormous heads!

Easter Island is one of the most remote islands on Earth.
Easter Island Map

Statues of Mystery

Scientists have identified 887 of these giant head statues. The statues also have a cool name: they are called Moai. The ancient Rapa Nui people carved these statues out of volcanic rocks.

Some of the statues are in kneeling positions, and some are just heads popping above the surface of the ground. They average 13 feet in height and weigh an average of 14 tons. That's about the height of an adult elephant, and twice the weight. Imagine how hard it would be to move just one elephant! Now imagine that some statues were heavier, up to 150 tons - that is like the weight of at least ten elephants.

How did they do it? Scientists believe that they used handmade sleds to move the statues, and they estimate that it took around 100 people to drag each statue.

Nearly 300 of the statues were set up in a perfect circle around the island, like a wall. Most of the other statues were still at the place where they were originally carved, and some are found in between the carving spot and their final standing spot. Most of the statues were carved about 2000 years ago.

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