Religious beliefs heavily influenced the daily lives of the Ancient Egyptians, and much care was given to preparation for the afterlife. By studying the process of mummification and the mummy's tomb, students can learn a lot about the history and culture of the Egyptians. Making a fake mummy's tomb can be an enjoyable activity for students that reinforces concepts they are learning about history, art and even literature.
Constructing the Tomb
A tomb is a large room that holds the mummy and the coffin or sarcophagus. The tomb could be any shape, but many kings and high-ranking officials were buried in pyramids. Students can create a tomb out of a cardboard box that is big enough to house the mummy and coffin, which can be represented by a doll in a small shoe box. Paint the tomb and the coffin or cover them with plain brown paper. Both will then be ready for decoration.
Decorating the Tomb
The ancient Egyptians painted or carved hieroglyphics onto the tomb and coffin that represented details about the person's life, including rank, as well as depictions of the afterlife. Students can choose a specific person to "bury," such as a pharaoh from history or a fictional king for whom they create a backstory. The tomb can be inside a pyramid, or the tomb can be the pyramid itself. Students can then paint hieroglyphics on the tomb to represent the person, such as what gods the person worshiped and how many wives he had. Symbols representing eternal life, such as the ankh, should also be included. The ankh looks like a cross, except the top part of the T is a loop. It was a symbol of eternal life.
Filling the Tomb
The ancient Egyptians believed that people were able to take many of their possessions with them into the afterlife. They included many of their treasures in the tomb, as well as items like food and water for nourishment. Some beads and stones were meant to help restore life on the other side. For example, red beads and stones were meant to symbolize blood. Students should include many of these items in their tombs. They can find small beads, miniature items or other small objects. They can also cut pictures out of magazines or draw the items themselves.
As students are working on their mummy tombs, teachers should make connections with what they are learning to other units. For example, students may read a novel about life in Ancient Egypt or about another culture with different religious beliefs and then write a report comparing and contrasting them. Students might study ancient Egyptian history and make a presentation on how religious beliefs influenced war or other events. The more connections students can make with what they are learning about their tombs and other subject areas, the easier it will be for them to learn and remember the information.
- Vidas Kaupelis/iStock/Getty Images