I can describe the important characteristics of the Maya civilization.
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In this lesson, students learn more about the Maya civilization, specifically their religious beliefs, daily life, and their advanced scientific and mathematical developments. Students will see how important the study of ancient civilizations is and make connections to our world today!
Students will be able to describe several aspects of the Maya civilization, including how they created a hieroglyphic writing system, developed a 365-day calendar, and developed the concept of zero.
First, ask students what they already know about ancient civilizations. What ancient civilizations do they already know of? Then review the geography of the Maya civilization and their hierarchical caste system. Ask students what they remember and see if they can find the location on a map.
Begin by describing the daily life of the Maya people. Describe what they wore. Mention that those of higher class wore high feathers. Ask students if they can make a connection to today’s society. Next, explain what the Maya ate and the importance of maize and cacao. The Maya would also entertain themselves with a ball game, though this was also considered a religious experience. After this, describe the Maya religion and the many gods the Maya people worshipped. Talk about some gods like Itzamna, Kukulcan, and Chac. Explain that they also engaged in human sacrifice as a gift to the gods. Check student understanding by having students drag a checkmark or an X to determine if statements are true or false. Then introduce the Mayan calendars. Have students compare them with the calendars we use today. Finally, teach students about the advanced strides the Maya people made in mathematics and astronomy. Discuss the Maya number system and the importance of the number zero. Have students drag the correct words to complete the paragraph.
Check student understanding with ten multiple-choice, true or false, and fill-in questions.
Students write an acrostic poem about the Maya civilization.
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