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As a Christian, I confess that the Egyptian culture is cloaked in evil spiritism and religious immorality. Neither of which I wish to discuss in detail with my young, impressionable children. But, I am also keenly aware that God loved and LOVES the Egyptian people...as is evidenced by numerous accounts in Scripture of how He chased after their hearts. It was not by accident that great patriarchs of the faith...Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and even Jesus, Himself...spent portions of their lives with these desert peoples. In His mercy, He continued to leave a remnant among them to give Light to their darkened world. It is my prayer that as I teach my children some of the "who", "what", and "where" of Egypt during this unit study, I can also impart a bit of the "why."
I hope you will join me over the coming weeks as I journey back a few thousand years to the times of the pharaohs. I will be sharing some of the resources that we have used and projects we have completed.
We will be using the following core books and filling in with several other living literature titles and videos.
Pharaohs and Pyramids (Usborne Time Traveler)
100 Things You Should Know About Ancient Egypt by Jane Walker
After reading Pyramid by David MacAulay, the kids used our wooden blocks to build a replica of the pyramid of Menkaure. This might look like just a big pile of blocks, but the book detailed the step-by-step, 20+ year process. The kids followed the same procedures when erecting each "brick."
Mummified ApplesWe also read the fantastically quirky book You Wouldn't Want to Be an Egyptian Mummy! : Disgusting Things You'd Rather Not Know by David Antram and watched the Reading Rainbow episode Mummies Made in Egypt.
Later, I found this great Mummy Experiment idea and decided that with a few tweeks...ok, a LOT of tweeks, it would be a great way to prove that in using natron (salt), the Egyptians chose the best materials possible when preserving their dead.
What we used:
- 2 apples
- roll of gauze
- 10 plastic cups
- masking tape to make labels
- 4 different natural preservatives (We chose salt, sugar, vinegar, and baking soda.)
Cut both apples into 5 equal slices.
Place one slice into each plastic cup. Reserve 2 slices to be the "control group." Place one of the "control" apples into a cup. Roll the other "control" apple in gauze and place into another cup. These two apples will NOT have a preservative poured onto them.
Pour 1/2 cup of one of the preservatives onto 4 of the apples. Be sure to completely cover each slice. Label the cup with the name of that preservative.
Roll the remaining 4 apple slices in gauze, place into cups, and cover with the same preservatives. Label the cups.
At this point, you should have cups labeled with the following:
apple & gauze
salt & gauze
sugar & gauze
vinegar & gauze
baking soda & gauze
Place all cups in a warm, dark, and dry place. (We chose a kitchen cupboard.)
After one week, "unearth" the mummies. Before removing the apples from the "mummy casings", take turns guessing which preservatives you think did the best job mummifying. Dig out/unwrap the apples to reveal the results.
Discuss that the gauze wrappings did not allow the apples to thoroughly dry and therefor created a greenhouse for bacteria and mold. This is why the Egyptians dried their dead before wrapping them.
Optional: Compare the salt-only apple with a dehydrated apple. The salt apple looks more "preserved" than any of the others, including the dehydrated (edible) apple.
Document your findings with a simple notebook entry.