Skip to Content

Art Gallery of Ontario

Keyword Site Search

Myths and Mummification


As in many cultures, the myths of ancient Egypt provide an explanation for religious beliefs, cultural rituals, and natural phenomenon. On a deeper level, myths serve to explain the worldview of a people. In this lesson, students will analyze ancient Egyptian myths and make inferences in order to understand the ancient Egyptian belief system. Students will extend their thinking by comparing the myths of other cultures and write a myth based on contemporary beliefs and/or phenomenon.

Myth of Isis & Osiris

  • Read aloud the myth of Isis & Osiris.  Clarify any questions students may have to ensure understanding of the story.
  • Divide students into small groups and distribute a hardcopy of the myth. Encourage students to make inferences as they re-read and analyze the myth. Their goal is to uncover the implicit belief system embedded in the myth. Have students create a three-column chart to record their findings. In the first column, students are to record important parts from the story that reveal an interesting aspect about the life, culture and beliefs of ancient Egyptians (PART OF MYTH). In the second column, students are to record what they can infer from the parts of the story they selected (INFERENCE). In the third column, students must justify their inferences with evidence from further research using links listed in More Links to King Tut (EVIDENCE).
  • Have each group share their findings and discuss how the myth of Isis & Osiris provides an explanation for the ancient Egyptian ritual of mummification.
  • Encourage students to explore the process of mummification through these interactive online activities:

Comparison of Myths

  • Challenge groups to repeat the process of reading, inferring, and researching a myth from another culture to compare both worldviews. Encourage students to research myths from cultures found within Canada and around the world. Groups can explore myths based on the same theme (death, creation) so that direct comparisons can be made. What are the similarities and differences?
  • Students can also become mythmakers and write their own myth based on a contemporary belief or phenomenon that explains a worldview. Guide students through the creative writing process to develop the setting, characters and plot of their myth.
  • Have each group present their comparison of myths from ancient Egypt and another culture or their contemporary myth. Encourage students to present their findings in a creative format such as a skit, news report, artwork, or creative writing. Students can also present their findings by creating an online exhibition on Collection X.

Share and Enjoy: