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The Maya Civilisation

History is an odd place. Somewhere we will only ever learn about from books, stories, films, the internet, but never be able to visit. How do the people that teach us, learn about things that happened so long along, right here on our planet?


Big word hey? Do you know what it means?

Activity A)

I'd like you to investigate these people and what they did:

  • Howard Carter
  • Hiram Bingham
  • Dr Diane Davies

You might like to create a presentation for a family member, you might like to create a paper facebook profile page, you might like to make a poster. The options are endless! Make sure you have evidence of your superb investigation. 

Activity B) 

See if you could gather enough items from around your house to make an archaeologist kit. You might need to use some imagination! 

Go to your front door and pretend you are an archaeologist from the FUTURE! You have just come across this ancient settlement (your house) and you are going to try and look for clues about how people (your family) lived in 2020. 

Makes notes on a notepad, gather photo evidence on a camera or device, make labelled sketches, remember be careful touching artefacts in the site, artefacts are precious and you don't want to break anything! 

After your exhausting investigation, you'll need to put together a report about everything you found that gave a clue about how people lived in 2020.

Activity C)

One of the ways in which Maya people left clues about their life was a type of hieroglyph, which you may have already learnt about when you investigated Howard Carter. 

First, spend a little time reading the information page (it is the first pages of the eBook) and then look at the hieroglyphs.

Have fun trying to create messages using Maya hieroglyphs and maybe even invent your own. You will need to clearly label what each hieroglyph means and then try to create a phrase or sentence.

Activity D)

Using play dough, clay, lego bricks, Jenga bricks, cardboards, cereal boxes anything you have to hand, create the Maya city of Yax Mutal. 

Watch the video on this page, An Introduction to Maya Civilisation click through the pictures and read the information to help you build your city. There is no time limit to this project and it might be nice to develop it over time, taking pictures along the way. 

Your city should include:

  • jungle
  • ball courts
  • markets
  • plaza
  • temples

Activity E)

 You will have noticed from the map on the BBC video, that the Maya people lived in a different country to us. 

I would like to know about their climate.

Using words such as:

  • equator
  • climate zone
  • seasons
  • tropical and subtropical

After you have done your research, you could write and then act out a weather news report for your family. Why not ask someone to film you!

Activity F)

Given the different climate in Central America, people would have worn different clothes. If you look through the eBook you will find information on the types of clothes worm by different members of society (p.6-7). 

Using paints, colours, old material or unwanted clothes, create puppets of Maya people. This would be a good time to practise measuring using cm and mm.