Suggestions for School Projects
Here's a list of suggestions for school projects (sent by visitors to The Mummy Tombs). Or click here to find a page of reviews of commercially-published activity kits and projects for children.
If you have a project suggestion that you'd like to share, e-mail Mummy Tombs.
Make a Mummy
For lots of mummy recipes you can follow yourself, click here. You can make a chicken mummy, a mouse mummy, a doll mummy, or (yikes!) a human mummy. Follow the instructions carefully.
Start an Egyptian Day
On Egyptian Day at the Dulles Elementary School, students dress as Egyptians, bake Egyptian bread, host an Egyptian museum, and put on two plays--The Egyptian Cinderella and The Winged Cat. The whole school enjoys Egyptian day each year. (Thanks to Lisa Stiehr, her children, and the teachers at Dulles Elementary School, Grade 5.)
Start a Mummy Day
Joyce P. described the following Mummy Day (actually two days) in Mrs. Pieruccini's 3rd grade class at Buzz Aldrin Elementary School in Reston, Virginia:
STEP 1: Give the class a mummy quiz [questions 1-7] and explain the answers. Following the quiz, read Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki.
STEP 2: Divide the class into groups assigned to make each of the following: sarcophagus, mummy case, mask, mural in tomb, canopic jars (use large boxes for the sarcophagus and the mummy case). One group took on the role of scribes, recording and later reporting on who was in each group and what they did. The final group was charged with writing and then acting the judgment play.
STEP 1: With the help of the teacher and parent volunteers, have the kids assemble their products. Joyce P. was the embalmer, working under the watchful eye of Anubis. Using a home-made mummy, she removed the brain, lungs, liver, stomach and intestines, which were given to the canopic jar makers. Then she salted the body inside and out (with cotton balls), ostensibly waited 40 days, and completed other preparations including applying resin (sheets of black tissue paper on top of the mummy). Then, the mask was placed on the mummy, and the mummy case was placed on top of the mummy. The sarcophagus makers then showed their work, as did the mural drawers, and the kids who drew outside and inside viewers of the pyramid.
STEP 2: The judgment play was performed with Anubis, Ammit and Thoth. The mummy's heart was weighed on a scale and, since it weighed more than the feather of truth, Anubis tossed it to Ammit.
Joyce adds: It was great fun, and the kids did marvelous work. The creative credit for the Mummy Day goes to Mrs. Katie Pieruccini. When she was a student, one of her most memorable learning experiences was watching her teacher mummify a dummy, pulling out its brains and internal organs. She wanted to give her students a similar experience -- and she did. I think this story is a wonderful example of the impact a good teacher can have on her or his students. Maybe one of Mrs. Pieruccini's students will be a teacher some day, and Mummy Day will live on.
Create an Egyptian Museum
Teachers can assign topics for which students create a museum exhibit. To give you a more concrete idea, here are some examples of the displays at the Egyptian Museum created by students at the John Jay Middle School in New York State:
The Sahara and the Nile
Make a Pyramid
Get a copy of a book called The Complete Pyramids (by Mark Lehner, Thames & Hudson, 1997). It covers all the different types of pyramids (including samples of hieroglyphic inscriptions on some). If you decide to make a New Kingdom pyramid, for example, try to build a side view, making the inner side of the pyramid out of mud or brown clay (to represent the actual inner building material), lined on the outside with sugar cubes (to represent the stone facing of the pyramid), perhaps painted a more appropriate color. Draw (or trace) all hieroglyphs on clay tablets and glue them to the inner walls. As for the objects and sarcophagus, model them out of clay (and don't forget the canopic jars).
Make a Cartonnage Face Mask
Use papier maché or plaster.
Make a Set of Canopic jars
Be creative in manufacturing the internal organs in the jars.
Write a Mummy Report
Here's a form you can use.
Make an Egyptian Queen
Lisa Stiehr writes: "I made a long straight dress with straps out of some off-white material. We got some shiny gold material to make a big collar and glued rhinestones on it, then we tied the waist with gold cord. I bought some wide gold colored ribbon to make cuffs for her wrists and this year we made sandals. We found some other accessories like a snake for her arm and a headband at a local party supply store. Of course we put lots of makeup on her."
For other Egyptian craft ideas (including the sandals), look for Make it Work! Ancient Egypt by Andrew Haslam & Alexandra Parsons. It includes games and instructions for model-making and period costuming. (Thank you again, Lisa.)
Turn a Friend into a Mummy
Chris wrote about his Egyptian project: "My group decided to make a mummy out of my friend Mykahla. We are going to wrap her with toilet paper and put all kinds of jewels and necklaces on her. We are going to paint her fingernails gold, instead of how the Egyptians placed gold caps on the nails."
Make a Newspaper Mummy
Susan wrote: "We make mummies out of newspaper that is fun to make and look neat. We take a section of newspaper and roll it so that it looks like an ice-cream cone. It will somewhat pointy on one end. Trim the open end so that it is straight across. Make a ball of newspaper for the head. Things can be added to the head like ears, nose, etc. if you want it to be a cat, baboon, etc. Wrap the whole mummy with masking tape. Spray paint gold. Decorate with hieroglyphic, etc. Bend up the pointy end for the feet."