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Archaeologists Reveal King Tuts Mummy


Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts

--Life Sciences

Social Studies
--Current Events
----World History


Grades 2-up

News Content

The face of the mummy of Egypts King Tut is on display for the first time.

Anticipation Guide

Write on a board or chart the word archaeologist. Ask students to identify what archaeologists do. Students will likely suggest that archaeologists study the remains of cultures of long ago in order to learn about those cultures.

Share with students this picture of a mummys coffin. Older students will likely identify the picture as a coffin, or sarcophagus, which was used to contain the mummified remains of important people of ancient times. If you teach younger students, share this information with them before reading this weeks News for Kids article.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: public, coffin, display, preserve, minerals, tomb, moisture, and infection. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • Madeline will freeze 12 quarts of strawberries in order to _____ them for use during the winter. (preserve)
  • Dr. Schure covered the wound in order to prevent _____. (infection)
  • Yesterday, our towns new library was opened to the _____ for the very first time. (public)
  • A _____ deep inside the old church holds the remains of several important religious leaders. (tomb)
  • Gold and iron are two types of _____. (minerals)
  • Six pall bearers carried the mahogany _____ to my grandfathers grave. (coffin)
  • The books were stored in a special place so _____ in the air could not harm them. (moisture)
  • Items from our presidents childhoods are now on _____ at the national museum. (display)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Archaeologists Reveal King Tuts Mummy.

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    • Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.
    • Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.
    • Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.
    • Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • Tuts face went on display on November 4, 2007, which was exactly 85 years from the day that British explorer Howard Carter first uncovered Tuts tomb. Carter discovered the hidden tomb and its treasure trove of gold and precious stones on November 4, 1922.
  • Most mummies are displayed in museums, but Tut is on display in a chamber of the tomb in which he was found.
  • Egypt's antiquities chief Zahi Hawass has led the effort to preserve and display Tut in a climate-controlled Plexiglas case. Hawass said he feared that the humidity and moisture caused by tourists breath and bodies was causing Tut to deteriorate inside his sealed coffin, which had been on display in a chamber of the tomb where he was found. The new display case will protect Tut for thousands of years. [It] will make the golden boy live forever," Hawass said.
  • Hawass said that the methods used by Carter and his team were responsible for some of the damage that Tut suffered over the years. Carter and his team damaged the body as they used sharp tools to remove layers of linen and resin, said Hawass. They also harmed Tut as they removed his gold-and-blue death mask and many charms that had been embedded in his body.
  • Ancient Egyptians often mummified important leaders. They believed the body must be preserved as a home for the person's spirit. They often buried good luck charms with the dead. They placed food and drink in the tomb to help nourish the dead person in his or her journey through the afterlife.
  • Some people think Tut was murdered at age 19. In an effort to learn the truth, Hawass and his team were the first to use modern CT scan technology to scan the mummified remains. They found no evidence of a violent death. They did find that Tut had a broken thigh bone. They think he might have died from infection caused by the broken bone.
  • The scan also revealed that Tut was 5 feet, 6 inches tall. He was well-fed and healthy. In addition, he had an overbite, which was typical of other kings from whom he descended, and his lower teeth were slightly misaligned.
  • The face and feet are in better shape than other parts of the body, which is why they are the only parts on display.
  • Tut was not the most powerful king of Egypt. But he is often called the boy king" because he came to power at age 8. He is believed to have been the 12th ruler of ancient Egypts 18th dynasty. He died around 1323 B.C., the last male of his familys line, which was probably the greatest of Egypts royal families. Military rulers took control upon Tuts death.
  • This artists rendering based on the mummy shows what Tut might have looked like when he was alive.

    If you have access to technology you might display for students this video of the unveiling of Tut or these photos related to Tuts mummy and Tuts life.

    Comprehension Check

    Revisit the Anticipation Guide at the top of this lesson by asking students to share any new information they learned about the role of archaeologists in the preservation of history.

    Recalling Detail

  • How long ago did King Tut die? (more than 3,000 years ago)
  • Why does the skin on Tuts face seem to look like hard black clay? (The ancient Egyptians used oils, salts, minerals, and spices to mummify the body.)
  • What parts of Tuts body are visible to visitors to the tomb> (his face and feet)
  • Why is Tut on display inside a case of plastic? (The case will protect Tut from deterioration caused by heat and moisture from people who visit the tomb.)
  • Why was Tuts life so unusual or special? (He was the ruler of Egypt; he came to power when he was just 8 years old.)
  • How do scientists think Tut might have died? (from an infection caused by a broken leg)

    Think About the News: Point of View
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page. You might have students use the think-pair-share strategy as they consider reasons pro and con. If you use this strategy

  • First, arrange students into pairs to discuss and list responses to the question.
  • Then merge two pairs of students together to create groups of four students. Have them discuss and add to the ideas they generated in their pairs.
  • Next, merge two groups of four students to form groups of eight students. Have students create a new combined list of ideas.
  • Finally, bring all students together for a class discussion about whether it is appropriate to place a mummy on display in its tomb.

    Among the points of view that might be expressed on both sides of this issue are the following:

  • "I really think he should be left alone in quiet, in peace," said one tourist who was able to view the new Tut display. "This is his resting place, and he should be left [here]."
  • Others say the admission charged to view the new display will generate money that will help Egypt preserve other ancient remains. They say King Tut is the best-known pharaoh of ancient Egypt because of the treasures found when his tomb was discovered in 1922; and this public display might interest people in learning more about the history of ancient Egypt. Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Discovery News, "Tutankhamun would be happy because we are preserving the mummy."

    After discussing different perspectives, challenge students to take a stand and write an essay that expresses their personal point of view.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Language arts -- adjectives. Invite students to share adjectives to describe the image of King Tuts face. Write the words students share on a board or chart. They might share adjectives such as black, leathery, shriveled, scary, and cracked. Then reinforce students knowledge of adjectives with a grade appropriate worksheet:

  • Grade Level 1 Adjective Sentences
  • Grade Level 2 Adjective Sentences
  • Grade Level 3 Adjective Sentences
  • Grade Level 4-5 Adjective Sentences
  • Grade Level 5-7 Adjective Sentences

    History -- the story of King Tut. Extend students knowledge by sharing The Story of King Tut, a Web site created in conjunction with a recent exhibit in Chicago of treasures from King Tuts tomb. The exhibit answers question such as

  • What was Tutankhamuns world really like?
  • Who were the men who helped this boy king run an empire?
  • Crowned at about age ten, how did this child train for his roles as head of the state, church, and military?
  • What led to his death before his 20th birthday?

    Science -- making a mummy. Some simple activities can help students better understand the process of mummification. Use this Education World lesson plan to teach students more about the mummifying process. Here youll find some background information, an activity in which students can mummify" a slice of apple, and a link to an activity you can use to have students mummify a store-bought chicken.


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    GRADES K - 4
    NS.K-4.3 Life Science
    NS.K-4.5 Science and Technology
    NS.K-4.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    NS.K-4.7 History and Nature of Science
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NS.5-8.3 Life Science
    NS.5-8.5 Science and Technology
    NS.5-8.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    NS.5-8.7 History and Nature of Science
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NS.9-12.3 Life Science
    NS.9-12.5 Science and Technology
    NS.9-12.6 Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
    NS.9-12.7 History and Nature of Science

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: World History
    GRADES 5 - 12
    NSS-WH.5-12.3 Classical Traditions, Major Religions, and Giant Empires

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.


    Article by Ellen Delisio
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2007 Education World