The Mummy Mystery: Osmosis and Carbon Dating


In this lab we are immersing ourselves in the world of ancient Egypt by creating a mummified chicken!

Our lab book includes instructions on how to make a mass spectrometer to carbon date your chicken mummy, games to dive into osmosis and more!

We also have tons of fun add-on activities to help kids dig deeper to find just the right level for them. From making mummy cupcakes to creating a mummy fact sheet and even writing tablets in hieroglyphs aiding your mummy in the afterlife – this month is bursting at the seams with fun.

You can download our labs piecemeal here, or become a Patron to never miss out on the newest Rosie Lab mystery!



A mummified chicken was found and it’s up to you and Rosie to determine if it is the lost chicken of King Tut, or just a recent specimen concocted in someone’s backyard!

Archaeologists use a method called Carbon Dating to determine the age of mummies (and ancient artifacts). You’ll learn how to make your own mass spectrometer to carbon date your chicken – just like Rosie does in the lab! You will learn all about osmosis, how we determine the age of things around us, and ancient Egyptian culture!

What’s included:

Lab Books
There is one lab book for our Mummy Mystery lab and lots of add on activities to help scale it to your child’s age and interest! Tabloid versions of the labs are available if you want to print the labs on 11×17 paper to make each lab into it’s own folder. We also have half page sized labs to print on 8.5×11 and fold into a booklet – a format my six year old enjoyed more than the full sized format!

Add-on Activities
Our goal is to enrich the lives of young scientists, and our add-on activities are ideas to build upon the principles and science we learn throughout the mystery. The Add-on folder is split into various grade levels with age appropriate ideas, instructions and worksheets for them! This unit’s add on activities include:

  • Mummy Masks: Decorate a mummy mask for you and your chicken – you can even wrap yourself in TP as you wrap your chicken!
  • Hieroglyph Tablets: Learn Egyptian hieroglyphs as you write your name, or a message to your chicken in the afterlife!
  • The Missing Smell: Discover why your mummifying chicken doesn’t stink up the whole house!
  • Mummified Egg: Which came first the mummified chicken, or the mummified egg! See osmosis first hand with this fun activity!
  • Mummy Fact Sheet: Decide what your chicken was in this life, what were their hobbies and social standing. Then fill out the area for scientists only to date the chicken!

Parent Guides
There are written parent teacher guides that will give you some quick tips and tricks to troubleshoot issues you might run into, tell you the broad takeaway from the lab, help you brainstorm questions to ask and give you some additional resources! Check out the Parent/Teacher video of Dr. Erica doing the lab here!

Scaling Guides
The scaling guides will help you think of ways to expand on the concepts in age appropriate activities, while the sourcing guides will help you find everything we bought for the lab! This lab doesn’t need much though, a Cornish hen and lots of salt, baking soda, and time!

Lastly there is our In Real Life download. This download will help you connect the concepts we work with in the labs to everyday life. It will help you guide your kids to understanding why osmosis is important and what the big takeaway of the lab is as well as safety precautions! Learn how we can carbon date live animals, and how some bacteria use osmosis to their advantage (and our demise)!

Worried about knowing the science behind the mystery?
Check out our parent teacher videos online to see the full lab as we answer a variety of questions you might have!


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