Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Mummies and Mummification


National Middle School Science Standards

Life Science, Physical Science

National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies

Key Terms

physical anthropology, archaeology, skeletal remains, mummification, burial practices, decomposition, culture 

Key Concepts

  • Skeletal analysis for age, sex, ancestry, and health 
  • Cultural burial practices over time 
  • Chemical process of mummification 
  • Scientific benefits of studying mummies 
  • Technology used by physical anthropologists 

Resource Types

Middle School Level

High School Level

Advanced Reading Level

Anthropology Subject Guide Smithsonian Libraries

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Mummification teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations.

Life Science

MS-LS 1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • MS-LS1-1 Conduct an investigation to provide evidence that living things are made of cells, either one cell or many different numbers and types of cells.
  • MS-LS1-5 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.

Physical Science

MS-PS1 Matter and Its Interactions

  • MS-PS1-2 Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.

National Curriculum Standards For Social Studies (NCSS)

The Mummification teaching resources support students in meeting the following Social Studies standards:

Time, Continuity, and Change

  • Studying the past makes it possible for us to understand the human story across time. 
  • Knowledge and understanding of the past enable us to analyze the causes and consequences of events and developments, and to place these in the context of the institutions, values and beliefs of the periods in which they took place. 
  • Knowing how to read, reconstruct and interpret the past allows us to answer questions such as: How do we learn about the past? How can we evaluate the usefulness and degree of reliability of different historical sources?

People, Places, and Environments

  • The study of people, places, and environments enables us to understand the relationship between human populations and the physical world.  
  • During their studies, learners develop an understanding of spatial perspectives, and examine changes in the relationship between peoples, places and environments.


Resource Type
Subject Guides
Grade Level
Learning Standards
National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, Next Generation Science Standards
Anthropology and Social Studies, Life Science, Physical Science