Maya calendar activity and quizzes (KS2)

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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: The Maya Calendar Explained   1. Make your own Maya Calendar To make your own Maya calendar, you can […]

Thinking Cards on the Maya

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These 20 A5 Maya Fact Cards feature a photograph on one side and five questions or activity suggestions on the reverse. The variety of questions and activities means that work can be pitched at an appropriate level for most abilities. This product is suited for the Maya Key Stage 2 (KS2) curriculum.  

Lesson Plan: The Abandonment of Maya Cities

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Objective: To debate and consider a range of theories for why many Maya cities were abandoned around AD 900 Abandonment of Maya cities from dianeelizdavies Lesson Starter: Check students have the correct terminology. What do the following terms mean: End- change- decline- move- hiatus- collapse?  Explain to students that the Maya did not disappear or die […]

Lesson Plan: Maya Cities and Architecture

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Objective: To understand the design of Maya cities and social order within. Maya Cities and Architecture – Lesson Plan from dianeelizdavies  Lesson Starter – Students to spend a short time to imagine they are a King designing a city from scratch. They should consider who will live in their city, what jobs people would need […]

Lesson Plan: Maya Arts and Craft

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Objective To explore how the Maya expressed their culture through the arts. Ancient and Modern Maya culture expressed through the Arts from dianeelizdavies Slideshow to accompany lesson plan. Lesson Rather than generating a specific lesson we have suggested a range of activities that could take place at any point in the topic. They could act […]

Lesson Plan: What does an Archaeologist do?

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Objectives:  To understand the role of an archaeologist and what happens at an archaeological dig.   What does an archaeologist do from dianeelizdavies Slideshow to accompany lesson plan. Lesson Starter Activity: IWB- picture reveal: What’s happening in the image? (find one of an archaeological dig). This activity is to help children realise the importance of […]

The Value of Egyptian Written Sources Concerning Egyptian Magic

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Egyptian magic in contrast to our Western conception of magic, was a legitimate activity, being part of the natural order, and formed part of religion and medicine.  Our main source material for Egyptian magic is written, including actual magical texts, funerary texts and medical papyri, to narratives and inscriptions on stelae.  However, the written spell […]

Running for Maya Children!

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I ran the New Forest Half-Marathon (10th September 2017) to raise donations for Melody School. Melody School has been set up by Igor Xoyon to provide equality schooling to underprivileged Maya children in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. It is run purely by donations.  Through sponsorship (around £40 a month) a child is not only able to receive a solid […]

Who owns the Past?

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“Because men really respect only that which was founded of old and has developed slowly, he who wants to live on after his death must take care not only of his posterity but even more of his past: which is why tyrants of every kind (including tyrannical artists and politicians) like to do violence to […]

Make your own Maya Calendar (KS2)!

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  Understanding how the Maya calendar works can be difficult for both young and old alike. Therefore, I have created a wonderful teaching aid that you can print out and make for free! In this tutorial, you will learn to make the Maya calendar wheels and how to use them (you can use it as […]

Cultural Activism in Mesoamerica: An Assessment of Recent Movements

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Introduction Since 1521 the Indians in Mesoamerica have been oppressed by Europeans and later by their ladino/mestizo governments.  Cultural resistance in Mesoamerica has varied in extent and force over time and between countries.  There were sporadic but unsuccessful revolts during the colonial period in Mesoamerica.  Resistance continued into the 19th century, the Caste War among […]

Late Preclassic Abandonment in the Maya Area: Scale and Causality

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Abstract During the Late Preclassic Period, particularly from A.D. 200-250, widespread abandonment and/or hiatus in construction occurs across sites in the Maya area. Regions most affected were Chiapas, El Petén and the Yucatán peninsula.  A preliminary discussion of the causal factors behind site abandonment is given.  In reviewing existing data, it appears that a combination […]

Tomorrow’s Achievers – Masterclass

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Learn about the Ancient Maya and Archaeology! Date: Upcoming dates will be added shortly The ancient Maya, who lived in Central America, brought us an intricate calendar system, complex hieroglyphic writing, some of the largest pyramids in the world, a form of ballgame that is like no other and most importantly chocolate! Learn about their […]

Ancient Maya Scheme of Work

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As a result of the teacher trip tin 2016 to the Maya area, a detailed scheme of work has been written on the Maya, which includes lesson plans, teacher notes, slides, images and videos for teachers to download and use in their class.

The Maya Calendar Explained (KS2)

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The Maya calendar (and time keeping in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica) is a fascinating but poorly understood topic that has gathered much interest in recent years (particularly around 2012!). In this article, we will explain how the Maya calendar was made, how it works and how to read it. Time was extremely important to the Maya, they […]

Maya Gods and Religious Beliefs

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Maya gods, goddesses and deities, along with the religious beliefs attached to them, changed over the course of several millennia. This creates much confusion that we’ll try to dissipate in this article. This resource can be use for the Maya Key Stage 2 (KS2) curriculum.   NB: specialists of the Maya civilisation say “Maya gods”, […]

Mayan Languages

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The Kaqchikel, or Kaqchiquel, language (in modern orthography; formerly also spelled Cakchiquel or Cakchiquiel) is an indigenous Mesoamerican language and a member of the Quichean–Mamean branch of the Mayan languages family. It is spoken by the indigenous Kaqchikel people in central Guatemala. It is closely related to the K’iche’ (Quiché) and Tz’utujil languages.

Maya Music

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There are many depictions on painted vases and murals of the ancient Maya playing musical instruments. We also have been lucky enough to find remains of these instruments too.

The Maya Writing System

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The Maya were the only civilization in the Americas to develop a fully-fledged writing system. Their hieroglyphic script (800 signs, half of them deciphered) can be seen on carved stone stelae, door lintels and on painted murals and ceramics.

Maya Numerals & Mathematics

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Ancient Maya arithmetic and numeration system, with its Dot-and-Bar notation and concept of zero, is a fascinating topic. In this article, we will explain how to read the numerals and how to do mathematical operations in the Maya vigesimal system. This resource can be use for the Maya Key Stage 2 (KS2) curriculum.

Maya Timeline

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  Background Information Mesoamerica is a classification that is not defined by geography or languages, rather by the presence of cultural traits. These traits included forms of game with a rubber ball in a rectangular court, codices; books made of sheets of bark paper or deerskin and a common diet of maize, beans and squash. […]

Archaeology: Learn, Practice, Excavate!

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Created in collaboration with London Grid for Learning, Archaeology: Learn, Practice, Excavate! is a general and wide-reaching resource that can be used by all primary teachers in history. There are three stages to this KS2 History resource, which shows pupils how archaeology is used to ‘dig up the past’ and decode History.  

What if British history was told the same way Maya history is told?

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There is so much incorrect information about the Maya online. This causes me much frustration, particularly as teachers (KS2 History Maya Civilisation) unknowingly are teaching these inaccuracies in the classroom and thousands of children are learning untruths about the Maya. There should be some sort of standard set for these ‘educational’ online resources, in order that […]

Meet the Maya at Stratford-Upon-Avon

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  I will be giving class presentations and tours of the new Maya exhibition at Stratford-Upon-Avon Butterfly Farm, of which I was involved. Presentation and tour last 90 mins and includes: The magnificent achievements of the ancient Maya Maya mythbusters What it is like for an archaeologist working in the Maya rainforest Handling of a variety […]

How to spot untrustworthy resources on the Maya

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Since the ancient Maya have been added to the Key Stage 2 national curriculum for History (non-European Study) in the UK, there’s been a ‘mushrooming’ of online resources covering the topic, most of which are downright awful! After the recent flawed news story about a teenager finding a Maya site, I thought it an apt […]

Maya words and glyphs for the colours

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The Maya had all the colours we know but only five colour glyphs have been deciphered: white (sak), black (ik’), yellow (k’an), red (chak) and blue/green (yax).   White / sak In Maya cosmology, the colour white is associated with the North    

Maya words and glyphs for the Cardinal Directions

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Cardinal Directions are the most commonly used forms of direction. and include North, South, East and West. The Mayan words for north, south, east and west are respectively xaman, nohol, lak’in and ochk’in. Below, two variations of the glyph for north (xaman):      

The sky and the earth

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Although it is often said that the ancient Maya had conceived of a layered heaven, there is only one word for “sky” in Mayan languages: kan (also written chan)      

Comment on a 15-year-old discovering an ancient city

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Comment on a 15-year-old discovering an ancient city As much as I commend the student for his interest and enthusiasm in learning about the ancient Maya and their remarkable achievements, I am afraid that the satellite image appears to be a milpa (corn field) that has been left fallow. There are at least 400 Maya sites […]

Maya word for alligator

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The Mayas used the same word for various species of crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus and Crocodylus moreleti) and caimans (Caiman crocodilus): A’ayin or Ahiin. The glyph for Ahiin is the stylised head of a crocodile with a cross in the eye:    

The Jaguar

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The Maya word for Jaguar (Panthera Onca) is Bahlam or B’alam. In classic Maya script, it could be written several ways: as a logogram representing the entire word      

Maya numbers and arithmetic

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As early as the Late Preclassic (ca 400 BC), the ancient Maya used a positional, vigesimal (base 20) notation involving the use of the mathematical concept “zero”, a truly great intellectual accomplishment and one of the earliest known instance of this concept in the world (the Europeans never invented the “zero”, they borrowed it from the […]

The White-nosed coati

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The white-nose coati (Nasua narica) is a relative of raccoons. It is also known as Coatmundi. In Mexico they call it Tejon, while it is called Pizote in Guatemala and in Costa Rica. The Maya name for the pizote is Chi’ik or Ch’we, but the Lacandon call it  Ts’uts’u.

2016 Teacher Trip to Guatemala Programme

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Itinerary Day 1: Monday 3rd April Antigua We will arrive at Guatemala City’s international airport, La Aurora and travel by shuttle to the beautiful colonial city of Antigua. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Antigua was once one of the regional capitals of the Spanish Empire. The city is full of colourful colonial architecture and is […]

Wooden Maya Calendar

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This beautiful calendar is the perfect tool to explain and understand the concept of time and timekeeping of the ancient Maya. This product is suited for the Maya Key Stage 2 (KS2) history curriculum.

Paper Maya Calendar

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The pack includes the full Maya calendar (Calendar Round) with 5 separate rings to be cut out in white card. Includes a pin for fixing the rings, information about the calendar, instructions and a quiz. This product is suited for the Maya Key Stage 2 (KS2) history curriculum.

Our Maya Active Worksheet Pack is a Bett Awards 2016 Winner

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“A Journey Through the Maya World” was nominated for the Bett Awards 2016 in the Primary Digital Content category. Well, we’re now officially a Bett Awards 2016 Winner! Formerly known as the British Educational Training and Technology Show, the Bett Awards are an annual celebration for the highest levels of achievement by companies that supply Information and Communications […]

Frequently asked questions about the Maya

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You have a question?  First, check the FAQ below to see if it hasn’t already been answered. You’ll also find information on the Maya World page.   What is your question about? (click to expand the lists)     You haven’t found an answer in the FAQ? Then go ahead and ask your question using […]

Maya Civilisation KS2 – Free teaching resources

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  Hello, my name is Dr Diane Davies. I’m an archaeologist and Maya expert. I provide resources and workshops for teachers, schools and all those interested in learning about the Maya. What are you looking for?   Facts about the ancient Maya See here for An overview of the Maya world Go there for an […]