Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this lesson plan, adaptable for grades 3-8, students explore BrainPOP resources to learn about Mummies and Ancient Egyptian mummification practices. Then they’ll make their own mummified Pharaoh’s head using a tomato.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Share what they know about mummies.
  2. Watch a movie about mummification.
  3. Create a "Pharaoh's Head" using a tomato and Egyptian mummification techniques.


  • One tomato per student
  • Antibacterial hand wash
  • Natron (equal mixture of table salt and bicarbonate of soda)
  • Kitchen towel
  • Containers (each container must fit a small tomato and natron packing)
  • Knives (for teacher use only)
  • Spoons
  • Balance scale
  • Marker


  • Preview the movie Mummies to understand ancient mummification methods and to plan for adaptations..
  • If students will be working offline, make copies of the Flow Chart Organizer so they can take notes on the mummification process.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask students to share what they know about mummies and the mummification process. . Ask them what they would like to know about mummies. Jot all of their ideas on the board.
  2. Tell students that today they will watch a movie about mummies. Explain that using what they learn, they’ll each create a mummified Pharaoh,s head out of a tomato
  3. Show the movie Mummies on the whiteboard to the whole class. Turn on the closed caption option to aid in comprehension.
  4. After the movie, distribute the above materials to your students. Ask them to examine the Pharaoh's head (the tomato). They should draw a picture of the tomato before mummification, and make detailed notes on its appearance and size.
  5. If students wish, they can draw a face on the tomato with a marker.
  6. Make a small incision on the back or top of each student’s tomato. They will then use a small spoon to scoop out and throw away the seeds and pulp. Be sure to let them know that Ancient Egyptians would store these organs in a canopic jar.
  7. Now have students use a clean finger to gently rub the Pharaoh's head inside and out with the antibacterial wash.Next have student should weigh the Pharaoh's head carefully, and write down this pre-mummification weight.
  8. Now instruct students to pack the Pharaoh's head with Natron, the equal mix of table salt and bicarbonate of soda you prepared in advance. Be sure they pack the head well, but handle it carefully.
  9. Next, have students place the stuffed Pharoah's head inside a container filled with Natron, making sure the Natron completely covers and surrounds the head. Each student is to label the container with his/her name and the date.
  10. Have students predict in writing how they expect the mummification process to change the tomato?
  11. After one week, have students unpack their Pharoah's head from the Natron and examine it, comparing it to how it appeared before mummification.
  12. Finally, bring the class together to discuss the mummification process. How well did it work? How accurate were their predictions?