King Tut's Tomb
Exploring and Discovering
Kandice Mortimer and Pamela Renner
Idaho State University
Two 45-minute class periods
Subject Matter: History
Tutankhamun was a shadowy and little known figure in the late 18th (1550-1295
BC) dynasty. He became king when he was 9 years old and died at 17. His
tomb was preserved because little was known about him; no one knew he
was around until Howard Carter discovered the tomb in November of 1922.
His tomb, which was built for a high official and not a king, was hidden
under a building. This enabled the tomb to stay complete and unharmed
by robbers. His tomb was filled with beautiful treasures and it took years
too catalogue and move the items out of the tomb. His tomb was considered
to be the most exceptional archeology discovery ever made in Egypt. Many
believed that the tomb was cursed and that the items should not be tampered
with. This myth is believed and opposed by many. One reason the curse
is believed by many is because Lord Carnarvon, the man who funded Howard
Carters excavation, died of a blood infection caused by a mosquito a few
months after the discovery.
Through the activities in this lesson the
students will become familiar with the period in Egyptian history that
King Tut lived in and learn about the culture of that time period.
Students will be able to:
- Visualize their lives when they were 9 and
imagine having the responsibility of running their own country and the
sacrifices they would have to make.
- Describe King Tut's tomb and the items that
were found inside.
- Explain the importance of hieroglyphics to
the ancient Egyptians.
- Draw and rationalize their own tomb and items
that they would have and explain why they made their tomb the way they
did and why they would want those items with them.
From the National Standards for History, grades
- Establish temporal order in constructing their
own historical narratives (NSH 1c)
- Distinguish between past, present, and future
time (NSH 1a)
- Consider multiple perspectives of various
peoples in the past by demonstrating their differing motives, beliefs,
interests, hopes, and fears. (NSH 3b)
- Obtain historical data from a variety of sources,
including: library and museum collections, historic sites, historical
photos, journals, diaries, eyewitness accounts, newspapers, and the
like; documentary films, oral testimony from living witnesses, censuses,
tax records, city directories, statistical compilations, and economic
indicators. (NSH 4b)
Eqypt's Golden Empire, Directed by Richard Bradley,
Videocassette Dist. By PBS Home Video, 2002
of King Tut's tomb ; Overhead
of Hieroglyphic chart; Pieces of 11'
by 13' white paper (one piece for each student)
Prep For Teachers
Prior to teaching this lesson read and become familiar
with King Tut's tomb and the video. It may help to have the video ready
at the correct spot before coming into class.
Establish a personal connection with
Explain to the students that we
will be exploring Egyptian history; specifically King Tut and what were
found in his tomb. Begin by asking the students
what they already know about King Tut. Record their answers by developing
a graphic organizer on the board.
Fill in the missing pieces of information; make
sure these points are present:
- Howard Carter discovered King Tut's tomb in
- King Tut died in 1323 BC
- He was made king when he was 9 and died at
- His tomb was originally made for a high official
- He was not known until his tomb was discovered.
Ask the students to determine the number of years
his tomb went undisturbed. The answer is 3,245 years.
Visualize King Tut's life
Tell the students that King Tut
came into power when his parents died and succeeded the thrown when he
was 9. Ask the students how old they are? What grade were they in when
they were 9? As a class, discuss what their
life was like when they were 9. As the teacher you might also want to
share a little about yourself. What did they enjoy doing? What did they
dislike? What types of things would they have to sacrifice to be a ruler?
How would they have a ruled a kingdom? Who would they trust to help them?
After the class has discussed these topics tell
them that King Tut died at the early age of 17. He only ruled for 8 years
and in that time was not able to do anything great. He was mummified and
put in a tomb that was not meant for him. As such he was left undisturbed
for 3,245 years. Show the tomb at this time
and go through the various rooms in the tomb. This will give them an idea
of what a tomb is like for their assignment. Explain
to the students that the ancient Egyptians believed the articles you were
buried with were the ones you kept for eternity. While you are watching
the video clip about King Tut's tomb pay attention to the things found
in his tomb. Think about what you would
want in your own tomb.
Insert Egypt's Golden Empire into your VCR. Provide
your students with a FOCUS FOR MEDIA INTERACTION by asking them
to write down on a piece of paper at least three things that King Tut
took with him to eternity that they found interesting. START the
tape at 1hr and 25.50 min. You will see a stone face for a few seconds
before they start entering the tomb. PLAY the tape until the screen
goes dark. At this time they are through talking about King Tut. STOP
the tape. (Segment is about 4 minutes in length)
Discussing the video
Start with a group discussion allowing
the students to come up to the board and share what three items they found
interesting in King Tut's tomb.
With the remaining class time, direct students
to make their own tomb and a list of what they would want in the tomb
with them. If the students run out of time, instruct them to finish this
assignment at home and bring it back tomorrow. They will be discussing
their tomb and their list in the next class.
Review class one's material
Have the students discuss what was learned
yesterday, including what they found interesting. Write the key words
and concepts on the board. Ask the students
to take out their tombs and their list of items. Each student will then
have a chance to share with the class one item he or she chose and why.
After discussing the various items in the class and the similarities between
them move on to step 2.
Decorating the tomb
Explain to the students that the ancient
Egyptians would decorate the walls of the tomb and burial camber with
hieroglyphics (signs used to write the language of the ancient Egyptians)
The hieroglyphics that the Egyptians used were often prayers, spells and
stories that were carved into the walls of a royal burial chamber. These
could help the king overcome death and join the gods who dwelt in the
sky, with the stars, or with osiris, in the Underworld. Some of these
pictures were thought to be so powerful that the images of dangerous animals,
for example the horned viper that represented the sound "f", were cut
in two so that they could not magically come alive and harm the king.
Have the students discuss what life would be like
with out written communication. How would we function? Are there any types
of communication today that use symbols? They might say sign language
and our own language, which are symbols that represent our language.
Display on the overhead the hieroglyphic alphabet
and the other symbols to help students visualize what they looked like.
Now, explain to the students that they can
decorate their tomb and the walls of their chamber with hieroglyphics.
Tell them that they can make up their own or use the ones that the Egyptians
used. Have them tell an original story about their life as King in ancient
Egypt with their hieroglyphic pictures.
Sharing their stories
When they are done, have them separate
into small groups of four or five and share their story.
Language Arts: Read The Egypt Game By: Zilpha
Write up their goals as Pharoah.
Art: The study of ancient art - Draw like an Egyptian.
Social Studies: Create Maps of Ancient Egypt
Invite a community leader in to discuss the
responsibilities of public office.
Invite funeral director in to discuss burial rites and how they have developed
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