In this post, you’ll find activities for kids around the Maya calendar. This resource can be used for the Maya Key Stage 2 (KS2) curriculum.
To learn how the Maya calendar works please see our article:
1. Make your own Maya Calendar
To make your own Maya calendar, you can download our free resource to print (5 separate rings to be cut out in white card). See the post Make your own Maya calendar.
2. Can you read the calendar round date below?
The image above is of a wooden lintel, from Temple 1 at Tikal, Guatemala. The first two paired glyphs on the left give the calendar round. One is a number and day of the Tzolk’in and other is number and month of the Haab. What is the date (answer at bottom of page).
3. Identify calendar-round dates
Identify each of the following calendar-round dates (answers at bottom of page):
4. “What will be tomorrow’s date” game
Teachers can ask their class questions about the Maya Calendar to aid in their understanding.
For example, if today is 1 Imix, 3 Sip, what will be tomorrow, or yesterday, or next week?
Using just the sacred calendar ask your class to make their own prophecies for each day. For example 1 Imix it will rain, 2 Ik is good day to plant seeds and so on.
A few examples – if today is 6 Men, 10 Yax what would be the date in 2 days’ time (8 Kaban, 12 Yax) or if today is 6 Ben 2 Chen, what would be the date 3 days’ ago (2 Ok, 19 Mul).
A Practice Question
1. If today is 1 Imix, 2 Pop what would be tomorrow?
1. Find 1, that is 1 dot, on nearest ring to your split pin, – you are working from inwards to outwards and line this up with your line marker so that you don’t lose your place
2. Find the glyph Imix on the second ring and line this up with the line marker and your dot
3. Find 2 (two dots) on the third ring and line this up with the 1 Imix
4. Find the Pop glyph on the fourth (largest) ring and line this up with the others – you should now have formed a straight line from the line marker – 1 Imix 2 Pop
5. To find out what the day would be tomorrow, you need to move the first two rings by 1 (in one day’s time) and line them up with the marker – you should have 2 Ik
6. Then move the third ring over by 1, remember you are moving forward, so the number needs to raise (anticlockwise) and line this up
7. Pop (the final ring) stays the same as remember a month lasts 19 days
So you should have 2 Ik, 3 Pop
Well done! You have just worked out a date in the ancient Maya calendar!
1. If you want to know the day in the future you will move the rings anticlockwise, if you want to know a day in the past you will move the rings clockwise
2. Remember there that the month (final ring) only changes when you arrive at the shell (zero)
3. Remember to work from the smallest rings to the largest
5. Calculate your birth-date
The Smithsonian Museum website has an interactive date conversion where you can type in, for example, today’s date and it will give you the date in the Maya calendar.
Answers to activity 1 & 2
1. 9 Ahaw 13 Pop
2. a, 5 Akbal 8 Pax
b, 2 Kan, 17 Kayab
c. 4 Ajaw, 11 Kumku
d. 1 Chuwen, 6 Yax
Feel free to ask a question in the comment section below (email not needed).