Topic

Achievements of Native American civilizations

Essential Questions

  • Should civilizations expand?
  • Are the most technologically advanced societies the most civilized?
  • Does cultural diffusion promote or destroy culture?
  • Are all people born equal?

Common Core Standards

WHST.9-10.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.
WHST.9-10.9. Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
RH.9-10.9. Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic in several primary and secondary sources.


Suggested Student Objectives

  • Comparing and contrasting Aztec, Incan, and Mayan Civilizations in government, economy, religion, and societal organization.
  • Analyzing how the diverse natural enfironment of the Andes region shaped systems of agriculture and animal herding
  • Interpreting the Mayan cosmic world view as evidenced in art and architecture, and evaluating Mayan achievements in astronomy, mathematics, and the development of a calendar.

Activities

  1. Create a schematic design including a temple/pyramid, cave, cenote, ball court, and planetarim, and explain their relationship to each other and to Mayan religious belief.
  2. List the major achievements of Mayan civilization and explain their relationship to everyday life: how did achievements in astronomy impact Mayan society? How valuable were mathematical innovations and the calendar to farmers?
  3. Read excerpts from Douglas Giffords's Warriors, Gods, and Spirits from Central and South American Mythology to examine the ways in which Mayan Myths reflect social values and daily survival skills.
  4. Read excerpts from the Popul Vuh. Compare it with Christian views of creation. Is the Popul Vuh a reliable account of the Mayan world View? Why or Why not?
  5. Develop a hypothesis to assess possible methods of contact between the Mesoamerican and Andean world. Use examples of agriculture, societal structure, and artisan crafts to consider cultural diffusion.

Resource Links

The History Channel's Engineering an Empire vol. 1: The Aztecs [UHS Library collection DVD 909 ENG]
The History Channel's Engineering an Empire vol. 3: The Maya: Death Empire [UHS Library collection DVD 909 ENG]
Brain Pop (login required) Search videos: Aztec Civilization: unite and conquer, Inca Civilization: the road to Machu Picchu, Maya Civilization: the first name in Mesoamerican civilization
GALE Student Resources in Context (login required) Search: Aztec, Inca, Maya for reference materials, images, video, etc.
The Rise and Fall of the Mayan Empire from NASA

Suggested Additional Readings

Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Maya: The Great Classic of Central American Spirituality, Translated from the Original Maya Text
Popol Vuh: The Sacred Book of the Maya: The Great Classic of Central American Spirituality, Translated from the Original Maya Text
Warriors, Gods and Spirits from Central and South American Mythology (The World Mythology Series)
Warriors, Gods and Spirits from Central and South American Mythology (The World Mythology Series)


Assessments

  • Complete DBQ essay- essay must answer the following questions: How advanced were the aztec, mayan, and Incan people? What were the major accomplishments?

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