The Pull of Ancient Egypt
Without a doubt, King Tut, the boy who became a Pharoah at age nine, is one of the most familiar icons of Ancient Egypt. From a young age, students are regaled with stories of mummies and Egyptian pyramids from Ten Little Mummies to Skippyjon Jones to The Magic Treehouse to Disney's animated series, "Tutenstein". The fascination with the "Boy King," however, reaches beyond bedtime stories to the world of popular culture. Tut-like characters and allusions to Tut have shown up in shows like "Batman" and "The Three Stooges" and became part of the soundtrack of the late 70s with the popular Steve Martin song, "King Tut."
Since the 1922 discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb, "King Tut" has become almost synonymous with "Ancient Egypt" in pop culture and iconography. In the late 70s, a small collection of artifacts from Tut's tomb were exhibited as part of "Treasures of Tutankhamun," which traveled to seven cities in the US. Today, an updated exhibit, "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," has traveled to Los Angeles, Ft. Lauderdale, and Chicago. The exhibit, focused on the 18th Dynasty, boasts over 130 artifacts from Tutankhamun's tomb, including his royal diadem. Currently, the exhibit is live in San Francisco at the De Young Museum and in Indianapolis at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. The exhibit will open at The Art Gallery of Ontario in November 2009.
The buzz surrounding the exhibit may bring Egyptian history into the classroom this year with renewed fervor. As your class ramps up on all things Egyptian, don't miss the opportunity to add science into the mix. These Science Buddies' science fair project ideas can help get you started:
- Pounding Papyrus: How Ancient Egyptians Made the World's First Paper Science Buddies' difficulty level: 6 Summary: An overview of creating papyrus paper, testing its mechanical strength, and comparing it to the mechanical strength of modern pulp paper
- Minding your Mummies: The Science of Mummification
Science Buddies' difficulty level: 4
Summary: A look at the process of mummification using hot dogs and baking soda
- How to Make the Boldest, Brightest Tie-Dye!
Science Buddies' difficulty level 5
Summary: A look at the history of fabric dyeing and analysis of how fiber-reactive dyes work with varying "types" of fabrics