Right now I’m in the process of creating a series of STEM projects for students who are studying Ancient Civilizations.. Next stop, Ancient Egypt!
I had been really looking forward to designing projects for this unit! I had so many different ideas for Egypt STEM challenges, it was hard to narrow it down to just two activities. I decided to focus on the process of mummification and how they preserved organs inside the canopic jars. I also decided that a pyramid challenge is a MUST in the STEM unit.
Challenge #1 Mummified Apples in Canopic Jars
During the mummification process, the human organs were removed and preserved inside canopic jars. The jars had hieroglyphic writing and the heads of different gods on top of the lids. The four sons of Horus (the god of the sky) were featured on the canopic jars. Each jar contains a different organ.
Natronwas the preservative solution that the Egyptians used during the embalming process. It preserved the bodies and organs by drying out the moisture and it also served as a disinfectant.
In this STEM Challenge, using 4 slices of apple, students must test different mixtures using salt, baking soda, vinegar, and sugar. Out of the 4 slices, they must have a control group (no ingredients used on the apple) to measure the mummification process. They are trying to find the best version of the Egyptian’s natron (preservative solution). They need to write down the exact measurements for each mixture using the next page. Each canopic jar needs to be labeled with the mixture. After applying the mixtures to the apples, they are placed inside the sealed jars. For the next four days, students must record their observations during the mummification process. ***For more information about the challenge, scroll to the end of the post!
The Ancient Egyptian pyramids are one of the most magnificent man-made structures created throughout history. The Egyptians began building pyramids during the beginning of the Old Kingdom, around 4,500 years ago. No building plans were discovered, so it is still a mystery on how the pyramids were built.
In this STEM challenge, students must design either a freestanding square or rectangular pyramid. The goal of the challenge is to design the tallest pyramid in the shortest amount of time. If glue is used instead of non-drying clay or marshmallows, allow for drying time. Students only need to use the timer during building time. They can stop the clock while their pyramid dries. The group who can build the tallest pyramid in the shortest amount of time wins the challenge.***Check out the link below for more information about the challenge.
This resource is also part of the Ancient Civilizations Complete Curriculum. The curriculum package contains Ancient Civilization STEM Challenges, Interactive Notebooks, PowerPoints, Google Classroom Projects, and Assessments. The units covered include Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Israel, Ancient India, Ancient China, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome! There are over 700 pages of interactive material.