Maya Cities and Architecture

Posted · 2 Comments

Objective: To understand the design of Maya cities and social order within.



– 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 to do and what buildings they would need.

Main activities

Students to research one of the Maya cities. They should look for:

– Layout of the cities

– Recreational, religious and living areas

– Evidence of Maya culture e.g. stelae, writing, astronomical/ceremonial sites

– Ask students how would you design a city/structure without pack animals, wheels, metal?

Extension tasks:

– Is there any evidence of social stratification? (A hierarchy e.g. Gods, King, Elite, Farmers)

– Why do you think the buildings for the poorer people do not exist now? (Thatch huts made from organic material which means evidence is lost).

– Why do you think this particular location was chosen?

Activity suggestions:

– Design nets to make a temple (could use graphic design, Minecraft styles)

– Build a temple using sugar cubes

– Scratch game

– Look for similarities and differences between Iximche and Tikal


See powerpoint for Iximche site images (late classic 1470-1524) videos (highlands)

See powerpoint Tikal site images (400BC- 900AD) (lowlands)

For videos on Maya architecture – click here

For more image of Tikal – click here

For videos of Tikal –  click here

For images of Iximche – click here

For  images of the Maya city –  Uaxactun –  click here


Provide research information for varying abilities

Provide templates for designing plans/building and create a model example.

Curriculum Links

– DT, History, Maths, ICT.


2 Responses to "Maya Cities and Architecture"
  1. Mathew says:

    How do I access the powerpoint presentations mentioned in the resources?

    • School: Headley Park Primary
    • Diane Davies says:

      They are on the same page as the resources -if you are having trouble downloading them it is because you are using your school’s email address and your school has blocked 3rd party downloads- just use your own personal email address and it will work.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.