Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans

I am lumping all the rest of the ancient civilizations I wanted to cover this year into one week. That would be this week. We need to cover Native Americans the last few weeks of school, so I didn't really have time to break these down into individual units. Here are some things we did yesterday with a friend, who also needed to cover these topics. We started with an overview of each society (Aztec, Maya, and Inca) then we went on to activities for each group.


First, we planted various flowers and vegetables. The Mayans were farmers, so we started some seeds for our own gardens. We also planted marigold which was a sacred herb to the Aztecs.

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We did soap carvings...

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and Aztec math.

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We made Incan quipas/khipas. Incans would use "strings of thinking" to tell stories and to record things such as accounting records. They would start with a horizontal string and tie other strings vertically to the base. They would use knots or different color strings as reminders of their stories. So the kids wrote down a story (I ate 4 hotdogs, I have 3 dogs...were the common themes of our stories), tied the knots on their 8 different strings, then recalled their story to the group using only the knots as a reminder.

They also practiced writing numbers with place value on the strings. Divide the string into thirds---the bottom third is the ones place value, middle third- the tens and the top third stood for the hundreds place value. So for the number 149...there would be 1 knot in the hundreds part of the string, 4 knots in the tens part and 9 knots in the bottom third.

Our quipas

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Finally, I taught the kids how to weave on straws. I've always loved the thought of weaving, ever since 6th grade when I had to weave a tapestry on cardboard. I've checked out a few books from the library and can't wait to make my own looms really, really soon to get started.

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We've also been doing an overview of Mesopotamia this week as well. Tera started with a stuffy nose that I thought was allergy, but now since her little brother got sick---it's probably safe to say they all picked up a cold. I'm sure we infected at least two families yesterday, if that's the case. :(

Today was spent on the British Museum of Art's Mesopotamia site reading and doing activities all relating to Mesopotamia and weaving, of course, that is in between nose wiping and coughing.
I always get my start at Lesson Pathways and supplemented this time with a great teacher resource I checked out from the library.

1 comment:

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