Other online resources about the Maya
You will find much inaccuracy online about the Maya and teachers unsuspectingly use inaccurate resources in teaching this topic, some of them coming from reputable education sites.
You can imagine how frustrating and worrying this is for me, hence the writing of my own resources.
Teachers need as much support as possible in teaching this little-known topic and it is essential that they have access to accurate resources.
To help teachers I have listed 10 red-flags for spotting an unreliable online resources.
Additionally, I have spent some time checking online resources and I can confirm that the websites and educational companies below are all accurate. I strongly encourage teachers to only use these resources and please do contact me if you are unsure about a website or educational resource and would like it checked for accuracy.
Content of this page:
- Educational Resources
- Writing and the Calendar
- The environment
- Archaeological Projects
- Maya Archaeology
- Modern Maya
- Historical Association
- International Primary Curriculum
- London Grid for Learning
- Hamilton Trust
Justin Kerr’s Maya Vase Database
Excellent database of Maya vase rollouts (as seen above) and photographs of Maya artefacts that can be downloaded and used in class:
Courtly Art of the Maya
Children’s Guide, National Gallery of Art, Washington
A booklet on the art of the ancient Maya culture
Denver Art Museum
Maya art and teacher resources
Teaching History with 100 Objects
The British Museum
A work in progress, at present just two Maya objects. Teaching ideas and the images can be downloaded for use in the classroom:
3-Maya Writing and the Calendar
Excellent website for Mesoamerica. Includes an interactive date conversion where you can type in a date and it will give you the date in the Maya calendar.
FAMSI also has a teacher’s guidebook as well as guides and colouring books on the Maya glyphs, Maya days and Maya months:
Nova (PBS) website
Contains the ‘Cracking the Maya code’ documentary, showing how scientists began to unravel the meaning of Maya glyphs.
Although, you cannot access the documentary on the NOVA website in the United Kingdom, it is available to download on YouTube:
by Gabrielle Vail and Christine Hernandez
This site features a searchable translation and analysis of four codices (screenfold books) painted by the Maya scribes before the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century.
The codices contain information about Maya beliefs and rituals, as well as everyday activities, all framed within an astronomical and calendrical context. Includes an excellent presentation on these codices for teachers to download and use in their class:
Dr Mark Van Stone
How Maya Hieroglyphs are Written – Demonstration:
How the Maya made bark paper – Demonstration:
Montgomery Drawing Collection
A database of hieroglyph drawings that you can print and use in class:
Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscription
Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University
This site lists all the Yaxchilan lintels as well as others, explaining the details of the scene with both a drawing and photo of each lintel:
Decode a Stela
A great example from PBS (American version of BBC) on how to translate a stela as well as hearing how the Mayan words are pronounced
Maya Maths Challenge
A Maya maths game with varying levels of difficulty:
Maya Maths video demonstration
A Math Maths video demonstration by the Jaguar Stone website that shows you how to add and subtract both simple and complex numbers:
Maya Archaeology of Mesoamerica
The Foundation for Latin American Anthropological Research
Reports on Maya Archaeology.
The Foundation for Latin American Anthropological Research has books concerning plants utilized by the Maya, flowers, caves in Mesoamerican culture, incense, sacred food and drink, bats in Maya culture and Maya art rollouts of vases.
The Science Museum of Minnesota
A World-Wide Web site that highlights science activities and information related to ancient and modern Maya culture.
Featured in the project is information from two exhibits about the Maya developed by the Science Museum of Minnesota, Cenote of Sacrifice and Flowers, Saints and Toads:
A good rainforest resource, including teacher resources with lesson plans and handouts:
Excellent interactive site on the Mesoamerican ballgame where you can watch and play the game.
Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian
Resources for teachers on the Maya including a bingo-like game where pupils will become familiar with Maya cultural symbols:
Music from the Land of the Jaguar
The Princeton University Art Museum
Select an instrument and hear its sound when played, for example a conch shell trumpet or friction/string drum:
Lamanai Archaeology Project
Website of the Lamanai Archaeology Project with tons of pictures, articles and information about this site located in Belize.
Lamanai exemplifies one of the longest occupation spans in the Maya Lowlands. First occupied in the Preclassic (ca. 1500 B.C.) and continuously inhabited through the Classic period “collapse,” it was thriving when the Spanish arrived in A.D. 1540. Lamanai continued to be occupied through the Spanish and British Colonial periods and into the twentieth century.
A Puzzle in the Peten
Excavating at Waka, an archaeological dig in the Peten. The website details the practicalities of excavating such as setting up camp and includes a field diary:
A major archaeological site in Belize, includes resources for children, including a story describing the life of 10 year-old Elyse, the daughter of archaeologists at the University of Central Florida, who helps out at the site:
8- Maya Archaeology
This website has tours of Maya sites such as Tikal and Copan, photos and descriptions.
3D exploration of the Maya world:
Dig the Maya
University of Texas at Dallas and the Dallas Museum of Art
An interactive game that involves digging a Maya site. Created by the University of Texas at Dallas and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Photos of Mesoamerican archaeological sites by David Hixson, a graduate student from the Anthropology Department at Tulane University, New Orleans:
Lost Kingdoms of the Maya
Including a tour around Copan, available on YouTube:
The Maya Project
Concerns the modern Maya and themes such as nutrition and health, women’s roles and living conditions:
A fairtrade organisation working with about 150 Guatemalan women in eight communities.
These talented weavers, embroiderers and basketmakers produce high quality items that can be bought online. Most of them live in conditions of extreme poverty.
Working with fair trade, the women can count on a modest and regular income to feed their families better, send their children to school and improve their homes. In doing so they are gaining control over their lives.
The site also includes videos where the women talk about their work and how fair trade has made a great difference to their lives:
The Guatemalan Maya Centre
Unfortunately, due to financial constraints the centre has closed its exhibition galleries and craft shop. However, they provide resources for teachers interested in preparing lessons on Guatemala and the Maya.
Examples include a Teachers’ Pack: Maya of Guatemala that provides information, activities and photo cards for school children (Key Stages 2 and 3) and the Maya of Guatemala: Hands on Schools’ Pack, which includes items of every day life such as a marimba, traditional costumes, backstrap loom, weaving materials, figurines and so on:
How to Make Tortillas – Guatemala
A Maya woman, Elizabeth, demonstrates how to make corn tortillas and explains what makes Guatemalan tortillas so good:
Youtube clip showing Maya woman making their huipiles and explaining how they weave them:
Huntington Community Primary School
School website on the Maya, includes a photo tour of Maya cities, a free download of a magazine on the Maya and videos:
Lesson plans, activities and maps for the Maya:
The Ancient Web
Resources for the Maya as well as the Olmecs and Aztecs: