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King Tut's Face

  • Key Stage 3
  • Popular Activity
  • Topical

Type: Activity
Learning Strategy: Interactive teaching
Topic: Tissues & organs

Tutankhamun was only 19 when he died, but he'd already been king for 10 years. That was more than 3,000 years ago. Now we can see his 'living' face for the first time. Scientists used CT images from 1700 cross-sectional scans to get a 3D map of his shrunken tissues. Then forensic artists rebuilt his face. In this activity, students look at how Tut's body was preserved and how scientists used the information they gleaned from the CT scans.

Published: 17th May 2005
Reviews & Comments: 6

Learning objectives

Students will learn that the body composed of tissues, and find out how the Egyptian mummification process preserved them.

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Cells [QCA 7A]
• Cells are grouped to form tissues.
• Tissues make up organs.
• Some cells are specialised to carry out particular functions.
Scientific enquiry [ideas and evidence]
About the ways scientists work today and in the past, including the roles of experimentation, evidence and creative thought in the development of scientific ideas.

Running the activity

Page 1 sets the scene and introduces the task. Page 2 has questions for the students to answer in their role as museum curators. The information they need to complete the task is on Page 3. As a plenary, groups could be asked to comment on whether the reconstruction of King Tut's face was a worthwhile exercise. They could also be shown an ancient portrait of King Tut (see BBC news site) for comparison.

Suggested answers are given on the downloadable teacher's guide.

News links

The BBC news story. Very good images and links to Egyptian Museum and Treasures of Tutankhamun.
The Guardian's version – similar to the BBC's, but with a bit more scientific detail about the scanning.
How CAT scanning works (useful background info).
Discovery kids
A really good 'make a mummy' game.
Really thorough information about mummification – all in 'kids-speak.'

Reviews & Comments

Write your online review to share your feedback and classroom tips with other teachers. How well does it work, how engaging is it, how did you use it, and how could it be improved?

King Tut's Face review

Nov 4th, 2008

4 Star

excellent way of tying in history and science togeher. use as activity as a starting point for writng a research report

Reviewer: ron Hallock

Biology, cells and tissues

Jun 1st, 2008

4 Star

This looks like fun, can’t wait to try it on my next lot of year 7s. It’s gory and that’s sure to hook them!

Reviewer: Stef Jones

King Tut's Face

Apr 13th, 2008

4 Star

This kept my year 10 low ability class active and interested for about 60 minutes. The websites used for this activity are fantastic.

Reviewer: Lara Iriarte

King Tuts Face

Nov 15th, 2007

4 Star

Grewsome and gory enough for my year 7 to love it!!!

Reviewer: Deborah Bradley

Choosing trainers

Nov 5th, 2007

4 Star

When using this activity we incorporated Pg3
Under pressure into our schemes of work.
It seemed to work well

Reviewer: irene gomes

King Tuts Face

Mar 19th, 2007

4 Star

I used this activity with my Y7 set 2 and they loved it - especially the bit about the brains being pulled out with a large hook! The activity really engaged the kids and got one of my quietest and most shy pupils standing in front of the whole class to tell us more "mummy facts" as it happened to be an interest of his!

Reviewer: Melissa Asquith