KS2 History: Ancient Egypt. King Tutankhamun

Finding out about Howard Carter's extraordinary discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922.

King Tutankhamun

This video gives pupils an understanding of the life and death of King Tutankhamun. It explains how we have been able to find out about life in Ancient Egypt by the things that were buried with pharaohs, like Tutankhamun.

We find out how King Tutankhamun was buried, why certain things were buried with him and what those things tell us about his life.

We learn about the discovery of his tomb in 1922 and who discovered it. We explore a key source called a shabti. These were small ornaments which were buried with pharaohs and tell us about the beliefs and rituals of the Ancient Egyptian people.

We chart the journey through King Tutankhamun’s short life, becoming pharaoh around the age of eight and dying around eighteen years old.

The video also explores the difficulties King Tutankhamun had with regard to his mobility due to a misshapen foot and curved spine and the reported difficulties he had in managing anger and emotions!


The layout of Tutankhamun's tomb
Some items found in the tomb
Tutankhamun's burial mask to colour in
Some designs for ushabtis
A ushabti to colour in
A ushabti to colour in

Teacher's Notes

This video gives a snapshot of Ancient Egypt and how important the process of burial was, particularly to the pharaohs. It can be used to discuss the process of burial, and how much thought went into preparations and carrying out the process itself.

It will help pupils understand how we find out about the past and the role of sources in this exploration.

We find out about King Tutankhamun’s life through the sources that were found in his tomb - the burial mask, the shabti and other items. This provides opportunities for pupils to explore the role and reliability of sources when carrying out historical enquiry.

Pupils can discuss how early explorers such as Howard Carter would have felt at the time of the discovery and also to consider how they would handle historical remains sensitively - preserving what was found while learning from the remains.

Points for discussion (History Linked)

  • Who was King Tutankhamun?
  • What was found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun?
  • Who discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamun?
  • How old was King Tutankhamun when he became pharaoh?
  • How old was King Tutankhamun when he died?
  • How heavy was the mask found in the tomb? Can you find something in your classroom that weighs the same?
  • How do some experts think King Tutankhamun died?

Suggested Activities (Cross Curricular opportunities)

Design and make a shabtiUsing illustrations from the animation, pupils are to design and then make a shabti using papier maché / clay. What style is used? What colours are used? What has it been designed to represent to the pupils? Once completed, pupils could present their shabti to their peers.

Pupil ParliamentKing Tutankhamun was a young pharaoh - a very young pharaoh. Pupils could explore if they were the Prime Minister, what decisions would they make about the running of the country. What would your five pledges be to make the country a better place? Each pupil to determine which peer they would vote for based on their pledges and determine the class victor!

Creative WritingWriting a diary entry as if the pupils were Howard Carter on the day of the discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun. What thoughts and feelings were going through his mind? How did he feel upon discovery? Did he have any idea of the scale of his discovery? What did the sources he discovered tell him?

Performing ArtsBuilding on the creative writing activity, can pupils in small groups develop a piece of drama to re-enact the discovery of the tomb? What feelings were going through the minds of members of the group? Use freeze frame techniques to help develop deeper thinking.

Material decayMany of the items in the tomb survived for thousands of years and were preserved to be discovered by Howard Carter and his team. Does it matter what material the items discovered were made of? Using a variety of classroom / everyday products (stick of chalk, piece of crockery, metal coin, sugar cube) can the pupils predict which will remain intact for the longest time when placed in a fizzy drink?

Curriculum Notes

This film is relevant for teaching History at KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd Level in Scotland.

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See also...

KS2 Music: Ancient Egypt
Song: 'Out of the gloom, Tutankhamun'