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The Maya or Mayan Civilisation

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The Maya or Mayan civilisation lived about 4000 years ago, in the area that we know as Mexico today. They were a very advanced civilisation, having a calendar, writing, farming and the capability to build cities. Here are some useful links to use in the classroom, when studying the Mayan civilisation.

DK Findout – this site has a whole interactive section about the Maya or Mayan Civilisation, including a quiz for children to try at the end of their investigations. The site covers:

  • Mayan Cities
  • The Mayan Calendar
  • Mayan Beliefs
  • Mayan Art and Craft
  • Mayan Food
  • Hunting and Fishing
  • The Ball Games
  • Mayan Writing
  • The end of the Mayan civilisation

BBC Bitesize – offers several videos about the life of the Maya, along with a set of classroom ideas. The first shared video is described as “Young Akbal introduces us to life in the Maya civilisation, which existed in Central America 1,000 years ago. He tells us about his city’s pyramids, buildings and food, including the importance of maize to their civilisation. He discusses how you can tell the status of a person by the headdress that he wore, before showing us how the game of Mayan football is played.”(BBC Bitesize)

The SchoolRun –  has a set of Top Ten Facts about the Mayans suitable for KS1 and KS2 children. There is also a timeline to research, a set of photographs to investigate, a quiz, interactive games and lots more. It is a very useful site if you are doing a project in this period of history.

There are several free planning sheets available for the Maya or Mayan Civilisation history topic:

Hamilton Trust – has a project, for members: “All New Maya Topic” :

“Study the incredible *Maya civilization in our brand new KS2 Topic devised and written with expert academic guidance. Discover where and when the Maya built their magnificent civilisation as your children develop a range of skills across the curriculum. Investigate how they lived, their culture and their legacy.”(Hamilton)

TES – this site also has a medium term plan freely available, shared by RManning07. This has been written for years 5 and 6.

Twinkl – usually a subscription service – offers a Mayan Civilisation Planning Overview for free, this may be a basis for any teacher to adapt or build on.

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