Ancient Mayan Civilization

In our slow, but steady move through history we have talked about nomads, ancient Egypt, ancient China, ancient Greece and Rome and then up into the Middle Ages. From here we’re going to turn to the Americas. Our next history unit study will be on Native Americans. I hope to incorporate some good literature books into our studies over the next few months (let me know if you have good suggestions for young listeners).

We started this week with the Ancient Mayan Civilization. I pulled a National Geographics map out (our library had old back copies of NG for 10 cents a piece a few months back). I also bought a book on the Mayans for 50 cents. It’s full of great photos not only of ruins, but of artist’s recreations of Mayan civilization.

When hubby and I were dating, we went on a trip down to Chichen-Itza and Uxmal.  Chichen-Itza was one of the most important capitals of the ancient Mayan civilization.  I brought out the old photos and shared them with the kids for the first time. Hubby and I weren’t married so we also have an over abundance of tourist nick-knacks.
The book we’re reading is called The Corn Grows Ripe (with Newberry Honors).  Funny enough this dovetails nicely with our current enthusiasm for gardening. (LD is still doing a lot of work on his plant/garden unit, but more about that another time.) It’s about a modern Mayan boy who doesn’t work as hard as he could.  When his father is injured while trying to fell a tree, the boy really steps up to help his father out — first by getting help and then by getting the field ready for planting. In the picture (above and below) the book I have actually show a modern Mayan using the same hooked tool described in the book to cut the brush.  And there’s also a photo of the field being burned.  We talked a lot about why that was done (to keep the soil healthy) and how hard it would be for us to cut down and burn the trees in our woods to clear out an area for a new garden. In the book, the boy spends a lot of time pondering the ancient ruins around him. When I asked the kids what they would think if they came across a skull carving like the ones in some of the photos I took, they looked at me blankly, shrugged their shoulders, and said they wouldn’t think it was that interesting.  WHAT?!  Guess they don’t (yet) have the anthropology/history intrigue that their Mom has!!
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See our study of the Ancient Mayan, Incas and Aztec Civilization you can visit these posts:

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1 Response

  1. i love your hands on approach as usual…. i thought you'd like to know that I've added you to my blog list on my blog as I'm just updating and realised that some of my favourite sites aren't there for everyone to share in, so I've added you!best wishes, jen x

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