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readers theater PLaY, Pages 11-16


Is the mummY's curse reaL? Your students decIde

The curse of king TuT

pencer Kayden started working on this play in July. That very month, the weather in New York City became almost unbearably hot. Meanwhile, Senior Editor Jenny Dignan went to a doctor's appointment and had to wait a really, really long time before being seen. A few weeks later, Editor Kristin Lewis was reading the play on her computer when a chill went up her spine; the air conditioning in the office had kicked into overdrive. Coincidence? Perhaps . . . The story of King Tut and his supposed curse is a perennial favorite. Your students will love contemplating whether the curse is real or not--a process, by the way, that will require them to find and evaluate evidence that supports and debunks the notion of the curse.


feATureD skiLL

Supporting evidence

more or less likely to believe in King Tut's curse than people in Howard Carter's time? Why? (Probably less likely; science has revealed likely explanations for the deaths attributed to the curse.) · What other explanations might there be for the deaths blamed on the curse? (There could be a scientific explanation, such as the mold theory mentioned on page 16, or the deaths could have been mere coincidence.) Next talk to students about the author's purpose and how it may have affected the plot. (The author may have played up the mystery and fear surrounding the curse to create an entertaining story.) Does

Left: Lisa k. weber ; right: the granger CoLLeCtion

ave students read the play's title and the red box at the top of page 12. Discuss the

this affect how students weigh the evidence for and against the curse? Project or distribute the worksheet "Real--or Hogwash?" for students to complete individually, or as a class. Finally, have them respond to the prompt on page 16.

definition of curse (a charm to bring harm or misfortune to someone). Then ask students if they are familiar with the curse of King Tut. Assign roles and have students read the play. Then survey the class to find out how many students believe the curse is real, and how many do not. Ask volunteers to explain their opinions to the class. Broaden your discussion by asking: · In general, why might people believe in curses? (They provide explanations for misfortune and discourage bad behavior.) · Do you think people today are

printable workSHeetS For Featured Skill

real--or HogwaSH?: a

graphic organizer helps your students analyze conflicting evidence and points of view about King tut's curse.

conteSt entry Form:

For use with the writing contest on page 16

T-6 ScholaStic ScoPE tEachER'S EDitioN · octobER 10, 2011

Yes, you could spend precious time coming up with

criTicAL Thinking

discussion questions, but why should you? We've got them right here--and the answers too! They're also available

printable SkillS workSHeetS

wordS and deFinitionS:

Print or project vocab words from the article before students encounter them in context.

online as a worksheet (without the answers) to use for small-group discussion or as a writing activity.



why do some people in the play believe in the curse of king tut? (supporting evidence) Lord carnarvon, sheik abdul haman, and

vocabulary practice:

Because reinforcement matters quiz: a multiple-choice and short-answer readingcomprehension quiz, with questions based on state tests. the quiz comes in printable and interactive versions.

georges Bénédite die soon after entering the tomb; a cobra kills carter's canary on the day carter finds the tomb; mace mysteriously faints; a rumor circulates that a tablet warning about the curse was found in tut's tomb. some people perceived these events as evidence of the curse. also, some people may have considered the curse to be an appropriate punishment for disturbing tut's ancient tomb, making them more likely to believe in it.


2 3 4

what is Howard carter's view of the curse? Support your answer with details from the play. (supporting evidence) carter

does not believe in the curse. he tells tarik that it is "nonsense," and he tells gardiner that it is "a load of hogwash."

...AnD More

What can we say? We've got a lot of ideas for you.

in ancient egypt, what was the cobra a symbol of? How does the author use the cobra as a symbol in the play? (symbolism)

In ancient egypt, the cobra was a symbol of protection for the Pharaoh. In the play, a cobra eats carter's canary, carter and his crew find a sculpture of a cobra inside tut's tomb, and a cobra causes an accident for the truckers hauling artifacts from tut's tomb. the cobra represents the curse of King tut.

Small-group diScuSSion

Where do King Tutankhamen's treasures belong? Inside his tomb, in a museum in Egypt, or traveling around the world for all to see? Divide students into small groups to discuss their opinions, then have each group present its conclusions.

why do you think the author decided to begin the play with lord carnarvon's death? why do you think she ended it with a present-day scene? (craft and structure) starting with carnarvon's

death creates drama and raises questions about the curse in the reader's mind. the scene at the end presents the possibility of the curse continuing to this day.


Have students conduct preliminary research on scientific explanations for the curse--enough to form a list of a few theories. Then assign each of several small groups one theory to research further and develop into a presentation for the class.



what have scientists discovered about the curse? (supporting

evidence) scientists have discovered several possible explanations for the curse, with one of the most accepted being that toxic mold spores inside tut's tomb proved deadly for anyone with a weak immune system.

*supports featured skill

Find all worksheets and other support materials at

octobER 10, 2011 · ScholaStic ScoPE tEachER'S EDitioN T-7


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