Monday, August 15, 2011

Mummies, Mummies, Everywhere

The theme of the day today - MUMMIES! What is more fascinating to an elementary school child than a corpse having its brains extracted through its nostrils, organs bathed in cinnamon and stored in canopic jars, the remaining body wrapped and sealed in a golden sarcophagus, preserved in mystery for thousands of years?

Not much!

Even my generally squeamish daughter took avid interest. This study goes along with our study of Ancient Civilizations this year, using Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World, Volume I as a primary spine. (As of this posting it has been quite some time since I posted - I'm going to backtrack and add some entries retroactively with the intention of posting more actively this school year.)

I wanted to share the resources we used as part of this subject, for those who might be interested.

The first is the haunting picture book I am the Mummy Heb-Nefert by Eve Bunting and illustrated by David Christiana. The book may be more aptly described as poetry than a children's picture book. Poetic language portrays the life and internment of Heb-Nefert, wife of the pharaoh's brother. While the poetry's examination of life, death, and legacy may have been somewhat lost on my children, the beautiful illustrations and narrative were not. 

Next on the list was my first use of this year's subscription to Evan-Moor's Teacher File-Box, which I got a great deal on through the Homeschool Buyers Co-Op ($70 for the year.) Some of Evan-Moor's materials are a little too busywork for my taste, but they have some great materials as well. Due to several recommendations I had intended to purchase their History Pockets for the kids this year, and for a lower annual cost the subscription gives me access to a much broader array of materials that I can in turn print on card stock, which I prefer. Also I've found that some of the materials designated in the grades 4-6 range are perfectly appropriate for my 1st and 3rd graders. Today's assignment, in fact, included a mummy craft activity, wrapping a mummy in gauze bandages and then placing it beneath flaps to demonstrate the multiple coffins that were placed inside each sarcophagus. The activity was designated for grades 4-6, but I found even my 1st grader could do it, though with imperfect result.

Pictured above in the background is the 1st grader's version of the Evan-Moor project (my 3rd grader more appropriately layered the coffins to more accurately demonstrate the internment of mummies.) In the foreground is a mummified carrot. This carrot was mummified in a "Tombs and Treasures" summer camp over a year ago at our local science center. We opened it for the first time today, revealing a preserved if very shriveled-up baby carrot, much to the fascination of the children.

The study concluded with the not-very-educational but super fun activity of the children wrapping each other up like mummies. This activity, of course, was of their own invention, and I permitted the sacrifice of time and toilet paper in order to foster their enthusiasm for today's history subject.

1 comment:

  1. We just finished Egypt and mummies - these look like so much fun! New visitor here from WTM forums - always happy to find other Jewish homeschool bloggers. I'm hoping to "resurrect" my blog carnival at least a couple of times this year, so feel free to submit any past posts you think are relevant.