Ever wonder how to mummify a chicken? Okay, probably not. But, mummifying a chicken is a great way to enhance any ancient Egypt unit study. Not only can you use this process to mummify a chicken, but you can use the same process to mummify anything, really. A hotdog, an apple… the sky is the limit!
Our Curriuclum Choice
I have made no secret of the fact that we love The Good and the Beautiful’s amazing curriculum. At A One-Room Schoolhouse, we are enjoying History Year One from The Good and the Beautiful. In year one, the first unit of study is ancient Egypt.
If you are not familiar with how The Good the Beautiful history program works, here is a brief overview from the website: “Each course goes from ancient history to modern history, connecting all time periods but stopping in certain time periods and places to explore in-depth. This allows children to see the entire flow of history each year.”
What I love most about The Good and the Beautiful history, is that the unit study approach gives a wonderful spine to build a rich and personalized curriculum to best meet the needs of your learners.
We have so enjoyed our unit and have added a few extras to enrich our experience. You may have read my last post about our recent field trip to the Carnegie Natural History Museum. In addition to our field trip, we also had a special guest speaker. My mother, a former sixth grade teacher, joined us recently for a two-day guest presentation. A few years ago, she was able to travel to Egypt and thus brought a wonderful, first-hand perspective.
I will write a full report on her presentation soon, but one of the highlights of her visit was the mummification of a chicken! Hands-on experiences like this help enrich and engage learners in the study.
How to Mummify a Chicken
- Set aside enough time for the project. It will take 40 to 50 days to mummify a chicken. If you are doing the suggested plan from The Good and the Beautiful and teaching two lessons a weeks making the unit seven weeks long, this 40 to 50 day commitment works out very well.
- Gather your materials. You will need a two to three pound chicken, a plastic container, rubbing alcohol, a box of gallon zip lock bags, a large roll of gauze, plastic gloves, and lots and lots of baking soda and table salt.
- Wash the chicken. Wash your chicken head-to-toe and inside-to-outside! After her bath, dry the chicken with paper towels, inside-and-out. Finally, give her a good rubbing with the alcohol.
- Start the process. Line your plastic container with a gallon zip lock bag. Place your chicken in the lined container. In another dish, mix together one cup baking soda and one container (26 oz.) of salt. Dump this mixture in, over, and around the chicken. Make sure she is completely covered by the mixture. If you need to, top off the mixture with a little extra salt to ensure that the chicken in covered.
- Change the salt mixture. Every two to three days, you will need to change out the salt and baking soda mixture. Dump out the old salt mixture and repeat the process given in step four. For a fun extension, take notes on how the chicken has changed every time you change the salts. I would suggest measuring the weight and length and recording observations about color, smell, texture, and size.
- Wait forty days. After forty days, take the chicken out and observe the changes. Depending on the humidity where you live, you may need to add a few days on to this process. Make your final observations in your mummy journal.
- If desired, wrap your chicken and decorate. If you wish the wrap your chicken, use a little watered down school glue and dip the gauze in the solution. Wrap your mummified chicken tightly in the moistened gauze and let her dry over night. After the gauze has dried, you may decorate your preserved bird.
Will You Try?
We are currently about two weeks into out mummification project. I can’t wait to share with you all the after photos in a month or so. Until then, are you going to start your own mummification process?
PS: We have two names for our chicken: Chickenkhamun and King Kluck? Which name do you think is best?
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Jacob Smith says
I’m curious. What did you do with the mummy once the process was done?
Into the trash, it went!
I love doing this! The kids and I do it every time we swing back around to ancient history and it is one of our favorite projects.
It is so much fun!
Katie Green says
I posted a link to your blog from my blog, I wrote about doing this project when we were homeschooling in Ukraine when we were missionaries there. http://host2043.temp.domains/~nikopolt/asaturdayeveningpost/?p=625