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About Mummies in the Morning andMummies and Pyramids: A Nonfiction Companion to Mummies in the Morning

In Mummies in the Morning, Jack and Annie find themselves whisked away to ancient Egypt, where they come face to face with a dead queen–and her 1,000-year-old mummy!

How were pyramids built? Why did people make mummies? What magic charms were buried with mummies? Who discovered King Tut’s tomb? Unwrap the answers to these questions and more in Mummies and Pyramids: A Nonfiction Companion to Mummies in the Morning, Jack and Annie’s very own guide to the secrets of ancient Egypt. Includes information on hieroglyphics, how mummies were made, tomb treasures and robbers, Egyptian gods and goddesses, and much more!

 

Classroom Connections

Activities for Mummies in the Morning

  • Mummified FruitsEven though Annie is grossed out, Jack is not alone in his fascination with mummies and the process of mummification. Explain the role of a natural salt, natron, in the desiccation of mummies. Help students experience, first hand, the drying power of different salt compounds by conducting the following experiment:
    • Divide a fruit such as an apple, a pear, or a peach into quarters.
    • Weigh each quarter; place each into a plastic cup labeled with its weight.
    • Pour ½ cup baking soda into the first cup; ½ cup Epsom salts into the second; and ½ cup table salt into the third, making sure each fruit wedge is completely covered; leave the fourth cup as is for a “control.”
    • Put the uncovered cups in a location out of direct sunlight for a week.
    • Remove each from its cup, brush off as much salt as possible (do not rinse!) and reweigh.
    • Compare starting weights with those recorded a week later. Calculate the percentage of weight lost in each case.
    • Ask students which salt compound seemed to work best. What information does the “control” fruit provide? How might results change if salt compounds were mixed?

    Curriculum:

    • Science
    • Math

     

 


Activities for Mummies and Pyramids:

  • On the Nile!On a map locate Africa, Egypt, the Nile River, the Sahara Desert, and the Mediterranean Sea. Explain to students that the Nile River is the longest river in the world and flows through the middle of Egypt. Brainstorm activities that would take place along the river, such as boating, hunting, fishing, washing clothes, etc. Why was the Nile River so important to the Egyptians? Why was mud the greatest gift? Look at pictures of this area today and compare it to ancient Egypt. What are the similarities and differences?

    Curriculum:

    • Social Studies

     

  • Animal Kingdom 

    Have students study the chapter break “The Animals of Ancient Egypt” on pages 38 – 39. Break the class into small groups to research one of the particular animals listed. Allow each group to present what they learned about their animal. Instruct each group to develop questions that they give answers to in their report. After the completion of the reports, play a review game with the questions.

    Curriculum:

    • Language Arts
    • Science

     

  • Pyramid Power! 

    Build a pyramid from either shoeboxes or tissue boxes. Divide the class into groups and have each group measure the height of one student from that group. Then estimate the number of boxes it will take to build a pyramid the height of that student. Allow students to problem solve and to work cooperatively to piece the boxes together and to record their success and failures. Each group should record the time they start and end. When finished, have students check their estimation. Then have them calculate the weight of their pyramid. As a follow-up activity, have students compare the dimensions, weight, and number of stones to that of a real pyramid. What tools were used to cut and move the heavy stones? Who built them?

    Curriculum:

    • Math

     

  • Who Let the Gods Out? 

    Egyptians worshipped gods and goddesses that were half human and half animal. These animal-like qualities signified the duties that they performed. Have students create their own gods/goddesses by drawing the head or cutting out pictures of animal heads and attaching them to drawn pictures or actual photographs of themselves. Then have students name their god/goddess and write a poem or description of the characteristics and duties performed by their newly created god/goddess.

    Curriculum:

    • Social Studies
    • Language Arts

     

  • The Farmer on the Nile 

    The Egyptians were great farmers and relied very heavily on the flood cycle of the Nile. Hold a discussion about the importance of flooding, planting and harvest. Address the question on page 18, “Why was the Black Land so good for farming?” Have students research what items the Egyptians would have planted and harvested, and then ask them to illustrate the cycle of their farm year. Discuss what type of climate and soil is needed to grow various crops. Decide as a class what would be a good choice of plant to grow in the classroom and then begin your very own harvest. Keep science journals to track the growth of each plant.

    Curriculum:

    • Science

     

  • Human Chariots 

    Chariots were a main form of transportation in ancient Egypt. Have a day outdoors and hold human chariot races. Two students are needed for each race. One child places his hands flat on the ground and the second child grabs the others’ legs. All human chariots begin at the starting line and race to one end. Then they switch positiona and head toward the finish line. The first human chariot across wins.

    Curriculum:

    • Physical Education

 

 


Teaching ideas provided by Jamay Johnson, second grade teacher; Melinda Murphy, media specialist, Reed Elementary School, Cypress Fairbranks Independent School District, Houston, Texas; and Rosemary B. Stimola, Ph.D., professor of children’s literature at City University of New York, and educational and editorial consultant to publishers of children’s books.