Lesson Plan - Get It!
What images pop into your mind when you think of a mummy? What's behind all that wrapping?
When you think about mummies, you probably think of monsters covered in loosely fitting gauze, or a thick white fabric, that terrorize people on Halloween.
Our perception of mummies has become pretty distorted in recent years. In reality, mummification is not something that should be feared. In ancient Egypt, mummification was a deeply sacred and religious process that was believed to determine one's success in the afterlife. In this lesson, you will learn what mummies really are, and why they were an important part of ancient Egyptian culture.
The ancient Egyptians were highly religious. They were polytheistic, meaning they believed in many different gods. They even believed they had the opportunity to become gods when they died, depending on how they lived their life on Earth. Therefore, it was important to them that they be buried in just the right way to make sure they were received and given authority in the afterlife.
The ancient Egyptians also believed that when a person died, the person's soul exited the body for a short time. The soul would eventually return to the body after it had been buried, but it needed to be able to find and recognize the body to be able to return to its host.
The process of mummification was widely accepted throughout ancient Egypt because it preserved the body for a long period of time so the soul could find its way back. Mummification actually does such a good job at preserving bodies that historians can easily decipher what a 3,000-year-old body would have looked like just by looking at its mummy.
To learn more about why Egyptians used mummification, you will watch Why did Egyptians mummify their dead? from WorldBookNetwork. As you watch the video clip (ends at 1:37), make a list of any interesting facts you hear about mummification:
When you are finished watching the video, explain to your teacher or parent why Egyptians used the mummification process. Then, share your list of facts with your teacher or parent.
- Based on what you have learned so far, do you think mummification sounds like a good idea? Why or why not?
The process of mummification was very elaborate. You will use an interactive story to learn about the process of mummification. As you read through each part of the interactive story, make a list of all the steps involved in mummification. Also, discuss the following questions with your teacher or parent:
- Why were the organs removed from the body?
- What organ was left inside the body? Why?
- How was the brain removed from the body?
- Why was the body wrapped in linen?
- How did each of these steps help preserve the body?
To learn about all of the steps involved, complete the Mummification Story interactive, created by the British Museum. Begin by clicking on the Embalming link. After you have gone through all of the embalming steps, click on the ‘Wrapping' link.
You probably learned some interesting and disturbing facts while completing the interactive story!
- Which part(s) of the mummification process did you find most interesting? Tell your teacher or parent.
When you are ready, move on to the Got It? section to practice the process of mummification.