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Ice Mummies -- Frozen in Heaven

Ideas from Teachers


(Gr. 6)
This activity could be used with NOVA's "Ice Mummies" program. Have the students create "Wanted" or "Missing Person" posters of the Iceman. Give him a name, where he was last seen, physical description, clothing description and a reward (like two hides or two wooden bowls). It is amazing how creative the posters turn out.

Sent in by
Donna V.
Sherwood Elementary
Melbourne, FL


(Gr. 7)
Here is an activity that could be used with NOVA's "Ice Mummies" program. A great investigation activity for life science or biology students is to freeze some thinly sliced ham and turkey, or apple and banana. Bring the frozen items to school. Students can prepare microscope slides from the tissue and examine the effects of freezing on cells. Teachers can pose questions regarding cell (both animal and plant) damage and tissue preservation as a result of freezing. Questions for further inquiry could be based on (1) the length of time the tissue was frozen, (2) whether the tissue was encased in ice or not, (3) comparison of animal and plant cell damage. This could lead to a science and society discussion of why morgues and funeral homes use refrigeration to slow decay.

Sent in by
Wayne French
Lindsay Middle School
Hampton, VA


(Gr. 9)
NOVA's program on the Iceman has been extremely well received in my classroom. (Editor's note: The Ice Mummies "Return of the Iceman" program is an update to the 1992 "Iceman" program used by Frazier.)

Preceding our study of Iceman, we learn about five branches of anthropology. I then divide the students into groups (3-5 in each) and we settle down for the program during our 80-minute period (the other 3 class days are only 44 minutes long). Each student has a role on which they should observe and write notes (see Base Group Student Activity Sheet below).

Since the program is so interesting, some do forget! Sufficient time is allowed for groups to get together, to discuss the program, and also to bring the program up-to-date. This lesson has never failed to work well.

An additional lesson I occasionally use is to have students pair up to demonstrate the Iceman's return, with one acting as the Iceman and the other as an interviewer (see The Iceman Cometh Assignment Student Activity Sheet below). The object is to have them speak publicly and use critical thinking. The results, in costume of course, are always funny.

To follow up, students begin independent research of the topic of their own choice, perhaps Lucy, Easter Island, or Titanic.

Base Group Student Activity Sheet
Your base group has the following tasks to perform while viewing the videotape entitled "Iceman."

Take a moment now and decide who will be what and how you want to handle this. When the program is over, please share information, supplement group member's reports, collect notes, and turn them into the teacher.

#1 - Archeologist
Keep track of the "artifacts" uncovered (found by researchers).

#2 - Anthropologist
List the professions of the individuals who became involved in the investigation of Iceman.

#3 - Physical Anthropologist
Note the types of investigative techniques used by researchers/investigators to find out more about Iceman.

#4 - Ethnologist
Keep a record of the conclusions drawn about Iceman from the investigations.

#5 - Social Anthropologists
List the questions about Iceman that remain to be answered.

Your group should turn in a packet that includes the above material.

value: 15 points (3 for each section)

The Iceman Cometh Assignment Student Activity Sheet
In your pair, your task is to do the following:

  1. Decide who will be the reporter, and who will be the Iceman.

  2. Develop a short story which explains how the Iceman was brought to life by the miracles of modern technology. Be as elaborate and sci-fi as you would like to! Also, explain why one of you was chosen as the reporter to report on this amazing phenomenon.

  3. Develop a list of at least 10 interview questions which the Iceman will answer. Questions must cover his society in Neolithic times, the way he made his living, what is was like living back then, what they did for fun, what dating was like in those times, and any other interesting questions you might want to ask a prehistoric man. Remember to allow for language differences.

  4. Practice the interview so that it does not sound "rehearsed" for tomorrow.

  5. You will be evaluated on the following criteria:

    • Do your questions allow for knowledge of Neolithic times to be expressed? Can the listener gain an understanding of Neolithic culture?

    • Is your story about the Iceman's coming back to life interesting and creative?

    • How well are the questions answered by the Iceman? How complete are his answers?

You must hand in:

  1. A copy of the list of questions and the responses.

  2. A neatly written or word-processed copy of the story you developed.

Editor's note: To read more about this idea, see Featured Teachers.

Sent in by
Don Frazier
Montpelier High School
Montpelier, VT


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Ice Mummies -- Frozen in Heaven
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