aztecmaya Dr. Jurgens
Science Hill High School Foreign Language Dept.Chair/Spanish Teacher
Unit of Study:  The Aztec and Mayan Civilizations

Goal:  Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the pre-Columbian cultures of the Maya and the Aztec.

Communication:  Standards 1.1.-1.3
Culture: Standards 2.1-2.2
Connections: Standard 3.1
Comparisons:  Standards 4.1-4.2
Communities: Standard 5.1

1.  Students will gain knowledge of the primary Aztec deities.
2.  Students will gain knowledge of the geography of the Valley of Mexico, home of the Aztecs.
3.  Students will gain knowledge and understanding of select aspects of Aztec history and culture from 12C to 1520.
4.  Students will gain knowledge of the art (architecture and engravings) of the Aztec.
5.  Students will gain knowledge of the emperors of the Aztec Empire.
6.  Students will gain knowlege of the geography of the Yucatan Peninsula and Central America, home of the Maya.
7.  Students will gain knowledge and understanding of select aspects of Mayan culture and religion.
8.  Students will gain knowledge of the art (architecure, textiles, engravings)of the Maya.
9.  Students will gain knowledge of select aspects of Mayan history.
10. Students will improve their reading skills in Spanish through select readings about the Aztec and Maya.
11. Students will improve their written and speaking skills through usage of new vocabulary and grammatical structures acquired during this unit.
12.  Students will improve their computer skills through extensive use of the Internet and development of a PowerPoint presentation.

Student Activities:(Note: Links given below can either be typed in or you can click on them directly by going to the "Useful Links" section of this assignment page).


1.  Go to AND and complete all activites under the headings of AZTEC and MAYA.  Copy questions/instructions and answer in your own words.  Place this material either in writing on paper or in a Word document.

2.  Go to
 There are reading activities covering the geography, flora and fauna, etc. and archaeological periods and zones of the Maya. Copy the following questions and answer in complete Spanish sentences:

(1) Describe el territorio maya.
(2) La geología del área maya es muy diversa.  Explica.
(3) En el área existen dos tipos de drenaje.  ¿Cuáles son?  Explicala diferencia.
(4) Describe la vegetación del territorio maya.
(5) Describe la fauna del territorio maya.
(6) Mira las zonas arqueólogicas.  Describe la zona de Chiapas y alguna zona arquelógica.
(7) Dinos de tres monumenotos históricos.
(8) Los Mayas de hoy viven en tres regiones.  ¿Cuáles son?  Describe.

3.Go to
Read about Mayan art and answer the following questions:
(1) Mayan art developed in ___,___, and ___ between the years ____ and _____.
(2)  Where are the best known remains of Mayan art found?
Follow the link "paintings": (3) What are the common themes?  (4)  What are the predominant colors?
Follow the "sculpture" link.  (5)In what form is Mayan sculpture?  (6) What is the most widely known sculpture?  (7) Both Mayan paintings and sculptures follow a "canon".  Describe this canon.  Copy and paste an example into your Word document.  You might also want to copy and paste an example of a painting and another sculpture.

(4) Go to
Click on link "The Myths" and read the myth of Quetzalcoatl.  This is a LENGTHY myth; restate it in your own words on paper or in your Word document.

(5) Click on the "Borgia Codex"  --a link that shows you  18 panels.  What are the topics of each of these panels?  Choose two upon which to elaborate; copy a copy into your Word document.

(6)  To to
Take the virtual tour of the great Mayan site known as Palenque.  (You may need to download QuickTime; if you need help, ask).  Take notes, either on paper or in Word, about points of Palenque that you find particularly interesting.

(7)*In order to read some of the Spanish texts, you will need to know the two past tenses in Spanish (the preterite and the imperfect) and be familiar with the present perfect and the past perfect (sometimes called the pluperfect) tenses.  Go to the following grammar tutorials, do the exercises, and take the practice quizzes. Turn in your practice quiz scores.

(8) Go to and try to communicate with a native speaker about what you have learned about the Maya and Aztec via e-mail and a chatroom.  Complete a write up of your experience in communicating in Spanish about this topic.

(9) Go to
(a) Go to "El mundo de la Cultural Maya". Click on the English version link.  Copy (or draw) a map of the Maya empire); label at least 5 Mayan cities. 
(b) Scroll down and click on The Maya World. How long did the Maya civilization last? Into what three time periods is the Maya civilization divided?
(c) Go to The Maya Astronomy Page. (NOTE: IF YOU GO TO THE PAGE AND IT READS, "ERROR NOT FOUND" OR "PAGE NOT FOUND", CLICK ON THE LINK IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT PAGE TO GET TO THE MAYA ASTRONOMY PAGE!)  Click on Maya Mathematics.  Copy (or write out) the symbols for the following numbers: 0, 7, 15, and 19.  Write a math problem using the Maya symbols for numbers.
(d) Go to the Rabbit In the Moon.  Click on "The Mayan Calender & Date Calender". Click on Mayan Date Calender.  Calculate your birthdate and copy it (or draw it).
(e) Go to Mystery of the Maya.  Click on "About the Maya". Click on "The Ancient Maya and Their Achievements".  Besides having monumental style architecture, name three other characteristics of the Maya.  What were the most dramatic achievements of the culture?
(f) Scroll to Maya Cuisine".  What is the "chicle" and what modern day product developed from it?  Go to Chocolate".  When did the Maya drink chocolate?  Where did they get chocolate?

10. Mayan Creation Myth - from the Popal Vuh.  What is their creation story?  Go to

(9) Create a PowerPoint presentation that highlights what you have learned in this unit. (You may also submit a newsletter, using Microsoft Publisher). Submit this presentation along with your notes (must be in Word) for grading.
Useful links
Last updated  2008/09/28 07:04:18 PDTHits  1018