The Mystery of King Tut
About the Book
Text Type: Nonfiction/Informational/Historical
Page Count: 24
Word Count: 2,391
Many mysteries surround the life and death of Egypt's young pharaoh, King Tutankhamun. In 1922, a British archaeologist discovered King Tut's tomb and made him the most famous of Egypt's rulers. He was just 9 years old when he took the throne in 1334 BC, during a time of great religious and political unrest. Many people were angered when King Tut's late father took away their religious freedoms and decreed many other changes in Egypt. Because Tut died when he was only 18, many believe he was murdered. In an effort to help clarify the many questions surrounding the young pharaoh's life and death, this book tells what is known about King Tut's homeland, his family, his friends and enemies, his tomb, and his mummified body. Photographs, a map, and illustrations support the text.
About the Lesson
Targeted Reading Strategy
- Identify the main idea and supporting details
- Use the reading strategy of summarizing to understand the text
- Identify and use complex sentences
- Recognize past-tense irregular verbs in the text
- Book -- The Mystery of King Tut (copy for each student)
- Chalkboard or dry erase board
- Main idea and details/summary, complex sentences, past-tense irregular verbs worksheets
- Discussion cards
Indicates an opportunity for students to mark in the book. (All activities may be completed with paper and pencil if books are reused.)
- Content words: archaeologist, artifacts, CT scanning, deities, dynasties, embalmed, heir, hieroglyphics, monotheist, mummified, pharaoh, revolution, vassal state, X-ray
- Write the words King Tut on the board. Ask students to tell what they already know about the Egyptian pharaoh. Show students the cover of the book and ask them what they see. Discuss how royalty lived in Egypt during the time of Tut's reign and what their tombs were like.
- Show students the world map and point to Egypt. Compare Egypt's location to where they live.
Preview the Book
Introduce the Book
- Give students their copy of the book. Guide them to the front and back covers and read the title. Have students discuss what they see on the covers. Encourage them to offer ideas as to what type of book it is and what it might be about.
- Show students the title page. Discuss the information on the page (title of book, author's name).
Introduce the Comprehension Skill: Main idea and details
- Write the following list of words on the board: King Tutankhamun, King Akhenaten, King Ay, King Horemheb, King Ramses II. Ask students to determine what these words refer to (names of different kings). Point out that these words help to identify and clarify a main idea. (There were many different kings in ancient Egypt.) The words King Tutankhamun, King Akhenaten, King Ay, King Horemheb, and King Ramses II are details that support this main idea.
- Explain to students that sometimes the amount of information about a topic is so large that it is grouped into sections or chapters, each one with its own main idea.
- Read page 4 aloud to students. Model identifying the main idea and details from page 4.
Think-aloud: As I read this page of the book, most of the sentences mention something about finding King Tut's tomb. The sentences mention that an archaeologist found the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, that he was pharaoh from age 9 until 18, that he died suddenly, and that people wonder if he was murdered. I will underline this information. Based on what I've read, I think the main idea of the section is: Finding King Tut's tomb helped people learn more about the young pharaoh and his death.
- Write the main idea on the board. Ask students to identify details from the book that support this main idea (many wonder how and why the king died, Tut's coffin was opened more than 80 years ago; and so on). Write these details on the board. Point out that the photo on page 4 also gives information that supports the main idea (King Tut was buried wearing an ornate mask).
Introduce the Reading Strategy: Summarize
- Explain to students that one way to understand and remember information in a book is to write a summary, or a brief overview of the most important information in the text. Point out that a summary includes the main idea and one or two supporting details. It often answers the questions who, what, when, where, why, and how.
- Model summarizing the main idea and details from page 4 on the board.
Think-aloud: To summarize, I decide which information is most important to the meaning of a section. To do this, I can identify the main idea and important details, and then organize that information into a few sentences. When I look at the main idea and details on the board, a summary of this section might be: Finding King Tut's tomb helped people learn more about the young pharaoh and his death. More than 80 years ago, an archaeologist discovered the ancient tomb of Tutankhamun. He ruled more than 3,300 years ago--from the age of 9 until he was only 18. Tut died so young and so suddenly that people wonder whether he was murdered.
- Write the summary on the board. Have students identify the main idea and details within the summary. Discuss how you used your own words to create the summary.
- As students read, encourage them to use other reading strategies in addition to the targeted strategy presented in this section. For tips on additional reading strategies, click here.
Introduce the Vocabulary
- Write the following words from the content vocabulary on the board in order: pharaoh, revolution, embalmed, and hieroglyphics.
- Give groups of students four pieces of blank paper. For each word, have them write or draw what they know about the word. Create a definition for each word using students' prior knowledge.
- Review or explain that the glossary contains a list of vocabulary words and their definitions.
- Model how students can use the glossary or a dictionary to find a word's meaning. Have students locate the glossary at the back of the book. Invite a volunteer to read the definition for pharaoh in the glossary. Have students compare the definition with their prior knowledge of the word. Then have them follow along on page 4 as you read the sentence in which the word pharaoh is found to confirm the meaning of the word. Repeat the exercise with the remaining vocabulary words.
- Invite students to review the photograph on the cover. Have them create a short story, utilizing all four vocabulary words. Have students use the vocabulary words in the same order as they appear on the board. Repeat the activity after reading the book to check for student understanding of the vocabulary.
- For tips on teaching word-attack strategies, click here.
Set the Purpose
Have students read the book to find out more about King Tut. Encourage them to underline or write on a separate piece of paper the important details in each section.
- Guide the reading: Have students read from page 5 to the end of page 10. Encourage those who finish before others to reread the text. When students are ready, discuss the important information they identified.
- Model identifying the main idea and details.
Think-aloud: As I read the section titled "Tut's Homeland," most of the sentences mentioned something about the religion of ancient Egypt. I read that King Tutankhamun was a member of the 18th Dynasty, the first ruling family of the New Kingdom. Egyptians worshipped many different gods and goddesses at the beginning of the New Kingdom. Two of the most important gods at that time were Ra and Amun. Some Egyptians began worshipping a new god named Aten. People were free to worship whichever god they chose until Tut's father became pharaoh. I will underline this information in the book. Based on what I've read and underlined, I think the main idea of the section is: King Tut's family ruled through the beginning of the New Kingdom, during a time when religious freedom was increasingly important to Egyptians.
- Write the main idea on the board. Ask students to identify details that support this main idea (the first ruling family; important gods were Ra and Amun; a new god named Aten, believed to be the sun itself; and so on). Write these details on the board.
- Review how to create a summary from the main idea and details. Refer back to the summary created during the Introduce the Reading Strategy section. Discuss and create the summary as a class and write it on the board. (King Tut's family ruled through the beginning of the New Kingdom, during a time when religious freedom was increasingly important to Egyptians. Two of the most important gods at that time were Ra and Amun. Some Egyptians began worshipping a new god named Aten. When Tut's father became pharaoh, he posed a threat to their religious freedom.)
Check for understanding: Have students read pages 11 through 13. Invite them to share the important details they underlined in the section titled "The Boy Pharaoh." Write these details on the board. Divide students into groups and have them work with their group to identify the main idea from the details of the section. Discuss their responses as a class and write a main idea on the board.
- Ask each group to use the main idea and details of the section to write a brief summary on a separate piece of paper. Have them share what they wrote.
Ask students to read the remainder of the book. Remind them to underline important details in the book as they read.
Have students make a question mark in their book beside any word they do not understand or cannot pronounce. Encourage them to use the strategies they have learned to read each word and figure out its meaning.
- Ask students what words, if any, they marked in their book. Use this opportunity to model how they can read these words using decoding strategies and context clues.
Reflect on the Comprehension Skill
- Discussion: Discuss how stopping to review the important details helped students remember the facts and better understand the information in the book.
- Invite students to share the important details they underlined on pages 14 and 15. Write these details on the board. Divide students into small groups. Have each group work together to identify the main idea from the details and write this information on a separate piece of paper. (Enormous changes occurred after King Tutankhamun died.) Discuss their responses as a class.
- Independent practice: Introduce and explain the main idea and details/summary worksheet to students. Have them write a main idea and supporting details for the section titled "King Tut's Tomb." If time allows, discuss their responses.
Reflect on the Reading Strategy
- Review with students how the main idea and details from each section can be used to develop a summary. Discuss with them the benefits of summarizing information they read (to understand the main point of a larger piece of writing). Invite students to share instances of when summarizing might be helpful.
- Independent practice: Have students complete their main idea and details/summary worksheet by writing a summary for the section titled "King Tut's Tomb." If time allows, discuss their responses.
- Enduring understanding: In this book, you learned about King Tut's father taking away religious freedom from the people of ancient Egypt and how it raised questions in connection with King Tut's death. Now that you know this information, how does it make you feel about religious freedom? Do you think it is important for rulers or governments to let people worship however they want? Why or why not?
Grammar and Mechanics: Complex sentences
- Write the following sentence on the board: Anna invited a friend to join her ________ she had two tickets to the concert.
- Have students read the sentence and suggest words that belong in the blank to complete the sentence (because, since, when).
- Review or explain that a conjunction is a word that joins two parts of a sentence together. Point to the examples students suggested to complete the sentence on the board. Explain that these conjunctions join parts of sentences together to form a complex sentence. List examples of conjunctions on the board (after, although, as, as if, because, before, for, it, once, since, so, than, that, though, unless, until, when, whenever, where, whereas, wherever, whether, while).
- Reread the sentence on the board, including a conjunction in the sentence. (Anna invited a friend to join her because she had two tickets to the concert.) Underline Anna invited a friend to join her. Explain that this part of the sentence is called the independent clause. Circle because she had two tickets to the concert. Explain that the part of the sentence that follows the conjunction is called the dependent clause. Point out that even though both sentence parts contain a subject and verb, the dependent clause does not express a complete thought and is not a sentence on its own.
- Ask students to turn to page 8. Write the following sentence from the book on the board: After about five years, the new pharaoh took a drastic step.
- Have students identify the conjunction (after), the dependent clause (After about five years), and the independent clause (the new pharaoh took a drastic step). Point out that in this example, the dependent clause comes at the beginning of the sentence.
- Have students read the sentence with the independent clause at the beginning (The new pharaoh took a drastic step after about five years.). Point out that either sentence is correct. However, when the dependent clause is at the beginning of the sentence, a comma often separates the clauses.
Check for understanding: Have students highlight the following sentence from page 12 in their book: One personal attendant, Tutu, had served Tut's family for years, since his grandfather had been king. Have students underline the dependent clause (since his grandfather had been king) and circle the independent clause (One personal attendant, Tutu, had served Tut's family for years). Ask students to identify the conjunction (since).
- Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the complex sentences worksheet. If time allows, discuss their responses.
Word Work: Past-tense irregular verbs
- Have students turn to page 8. Write the following sentence on the board: In various parts of Egypt, people tried to stop the destruction of their temples, but the pharaoh's military was able to control them. Ask them to identify the verbs in the sentence (tried, was). Explain that these are past-tense verbs that describe something that happened in the past. Write the term past tense on the board.
- Write the term present tense on the board. Explain that present-tense verbs describe something that is happening in the present, or right now. Ask students to name the present-tense form of tried and was (try, is).
- Point out that the verb tried is changed to a past-tense verb by replacing the y with an i, and adding the suffix -ed. Discuss how this is an example of a regular past-tense verb. Point out that was is an irregular past-tense verb because its past tense is formed without adding -d or -ed.
- Ask students to turn to page 21. Have a volunteer name the regular past-tense verbs (decided, studied, called, announced, revealed, caused, happened, embalmed). Have another volunteer name the present tense of these verbs (decide, study, call, announce, reveal, cause, happen, embalm). Write these examples on the board under the present-tense and past-tense categories.
Check for understanding: Have students turn to page 8 and circle the irregular past-tense verbs (began, was, been, took, were). Invite a volunteer to name the present tense of these verbs (begin, is, be, take, are). Write these examples on the board under the present-tense and past-tense categories.
- Write the present-tense verbs play, explain, and go on the board. Have students work in pairs to create past- and present-tense sentences using these verbs. Have them share their examples aloud.
- Independent practice: Introduce, explain, and have students complete the past-tense irregular verbs worksheet. Review answers aloud once all independent work is complete.
- Allow students to read their book independently. Additionally, partners can take turns reading parts of the book to each other.
- Give students their book to take home to read with parents, caregivers, siblings, or friends. Have students discuss with someone at home how to summarize a section using the main idea and details of the section.
Extend the Reading
Informational Writing and Art Connection
Provide print and Internet sources for students to find out more about King Tut. Citing information from their research and the book, have them write a report about the young pharaoh. Instruct students to include at least three sections, including an introduction and conclusion. Have them create a table of contents and a glossary, and encourage them to add illustrations or photographs to their report. Require an error-free final copy and make a front and back cover. Either bind each report separately, or bind all of the reports together to make a class book with its own front and back cover.
Visit Writing A-Z for a lesson and leveled materials on informational report writing.
Take a class trip to the school or city library. Instruct students to search for books or Internet sites about Egyptian tombs. Have them find information about ancient Egyptian practices regarding embalming and mummification, burial artifacts, and hieroglyphic messages. Have small groups collectively prepare an oral report to share with the class. They can include a poster as a visual aid.
Discussion cards covering comprehension skills and strategies not explicitly taught with the book are provided as an extension activity. The following is a list of some ways these cards can be used with students:
- Use as discussion starters for literature circles.
- Have students choose one or more cards and write a response, either as an essay or a journal entry.
- Distribute before reading the book and have students use one of the questions as a purpose for reading.
- Cut apart and use the cards as game cards with a board game.
- Conduct a class discussion as a review before the book quiz.
Monitor students to determine if they can:
- identify the main idea and supporting details to better understand the text in discussion and on a worksheet
- accurately use main idea statements and supporting details to write a summary in their own words
- correctly identify the parts of complex sentences during discussion and on a worksheet
- identify and understand the formation of past-tense irregular verbs during discussion and on a worksheet
Go to "The Mystery of King Tut" main page
© Learning A-Z, Inc. All rights reserved.