Goodbye to ‘King Kluck’

Students show off their completed, decorated mummy.

San Diego Jewish Academy teacher Amy Civin has taken a very unique, hands-on approach to teaching her students about ancient Egypt and the art of mummification. Her two sixth grade classes went through a seven-week process of mummifying a chicken.

The students took a chicken — dubbed “King Kluck” — and prepared its body with Natron, (a mixture of baking soda and salt), a mixture that the Egyptians used for mummification as it absorbs water and acts as a drying agent.

Students read their narratives on the life of King Kluck.

Each week the students cleaned, re-stuffed, dried and freshened the chicken carcass, monitoring its weight and other details, such as its smell. The students equated the smell to “rotten fish” and “wet dog,” but they coated the chicken in cinnamon to cover it up.

After seven weeks of preparing King Kluck’s body, the students wrapped him up like a mummy on Friday, May 11. They decorated the mummy with jewels and glitter and placed him in the class sarcophagus they designed.

As part of their farewell to King Kluck, students read the narratives they wrote on what they thought King Kluck’s life was like, and enjoyed party snacks.

— Karen Billing