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Category: 4 – The Old Kingdom of Egypt

We actually did this experiment twice, as the results were not what we expected…

After one week, here are the two apple slices. The first one is the “mummified’ apple. The second is one we just left out. The second one looks truer to color! The mummified apple has retained its shape, but the peel has turned black, and the insides discolored. I thought maybe it was because I soaked it in salt water before hand.

So we tried again! We did the same thing, without the salt water soak. Here is our apple slice weighing in at 7/8 oz.

And here’s that same apple almost a week later, weighing in at 1/4 oz. It has lost 5/8 oz due to the dehyrdation of the salt/baking soda mix.

But it still looks black. I think we should have given it a month to see moredecay on the untouched apple slice.

If you are studying Ancient Egypt, I highly recommend the National Geographic Classic Science Archaeology: Pyramid kit by Thames and Kosmos. It ties all of Satori’s interests together: archaeology, hieroglyphs, mummies, and of course pyramids.

It comes well-protected in a perfectly designed box and you’ll find your pyramid and treasures within, archaeologist tools (hammer, chisel, brush, peg), protective goggles, full-color manual, and a 3D paper cross section model. Satori fondly remembers her “paleontologist days” when studying prehistory, so she was so excited to begin excavating!

*READ THE DIRECTIONS* first, or you might miss out on some of the clever surprises! (You may not wish to read further if you want your own kit to be a surprise.)

Click on the image above to get the full detail and you’ll notice hieroglyphs on a certain level of each side of the pyramid. Satori quickly wrote down a translation, she needed no manual, she already had them memorized! These hieroglyphs of course had a few vowels and other letters that used the same translation, so once Satori wrote down the letters, Mama still had to help translate. But overall, this was a very cool puzzle. Satori was so happy that she basically solved it herself. Each side gave a message to tell you if this side was the entrance. Our first side said “TRY AGAIN”.

(There are more pictures, but I don’t want to spoil this kit for the people who want it to be a surprise!) Click “continue reading…” link below.

continue reading…

One of the activities in our Story of the World 1 Activity Guide is to build a pyramid. Their specific activity was to use sand and glue, but we wanted something simpler! So we use sugar cubes, simple yet perfect building blocks for a pyramid. All we needed was one box of sugar cubes (1 lb), some glue, and some cardboard to build it upon. To finish our pyramid off, we also used sand and gold paint.

Last night we had read a few read-along books about pyramids. You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Pyramid Builder and Who Built the Pyramid? So we were familiar with all the many different jobs people had when building a pyramid – so it was fun to describe again these jobs as we prepared our very own pyramid, right down to the capstone.

First off we counted off the base of the pyramid – 36 cubes to build a 6×6 base.

From there we drew a line around our 36 cubes, only to take off the cubes, paint on a thick layer of glue, and then replace the  cubes.

We kept building up, next was a layer of 25 (5×5), 16 (4×4), 9, 4, and finally 1. I reminder Satori to place them tightly together, as the Ancient Egyptians did.

Once done, we painted the pyramid with glue, and sprinkled sand to give it a more authentic sand look. I did not have a more realistic sand color, and we probably would have been fine with keeping it white like limestone. To top it off, we painted the final block gold and set it on top for our capstone.

Now that I think back upon this, it would have been cool if we placed a tiny treasure inside the pyramid, then break into it later! Similar to our second pyramid activity which I’ll be blogging about next.

One of Story of the World’s most famous activities is “Mummifying a Chicken”. My local homeschoolers have dubbed the project “6 Weeks and a Chicken”. I think I’ve dreaded this for almost a year, as we are vegetarians and even if we weren’t, I don’t think I could handle a dead chicken carcass in the house with 3 cats for 6 weeks.

Instead we got the Lift the Lid on Mummies project. It comes with everything we need to prepare a body for mummification, but without an actual dead thing. 🙂 We get the body, organs, wrappings, canopic jars, death mask, sarcophagus and more.

To proceed, Satori carefully cut open the body to obtain the organs. (She simply lifted the top half of the body and inside were his organs).

The buzzword for the week for Satori is “canopic jar”. (She’s fascinated with these things and includes them in her daily drawings even). These little jars have the head of an Egyptian god and store the mummy’s organs.  We had to build the jar bodies, they are glossy paper rolled up and taped. (They suggest to glue it, but my glue wasn’t holding on the glossy paper, but tape worked perfect). Here is Hapi will be storing the lungs.

Next, we wrapped up the mummy with the bandages. I wish they would have included a teeny bit longer length of wrappings, but with care, we managed to wrap his whole body.

Satori carefully placed the amulets provided (turquoise-colored stickers) between the wrappings.

We carefully placed the death mask on the mummy head and placed him in his sarcaphagus with his cat mummy and canopic jars. Satori is holding up the prayer we read before sealing the coffin with the sticker.

We were both a bit wistful as we sealed his tomb. The mummy was so cool to play with, even some other five year old girls from the neighborhood enjoyed playing with him. I’m sure it won’t be long before a tomb robber discovers the tomb and opens up the coffin…

The Lift the Lid on Mummies project was well worth the investment. Also included was a very informative booklet that talked all about mummies!

Immediately after the above mummification, we set out Mummifying an Apple. This was not a SOTW Activity Project, but is a popular way to mummify a living thing. By just googling “mummify apple”, there are several descriptions of the process.

This was one way to experience the preservation process and see some results! Here I took an apple and cut two slices out of its middle.

After Satori scooped out its “organs” (apple seeds), we soaked it for a few minutes in a salt bath.

Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have given it a bath, as we then weighed the slice we were going to mummify. I’m sure extra moisture was weighed in. 🙂

Satori then got some math practice in as she measured half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of salt. After mixing it, we completely covered our special apple slice.

Day one. Mummified apple is covered in salts, we will take a look at both in one week!