Maya Teacher Resources
Find Maya educational ideas and activities
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Maya Angelou: Study and response to "Still I Rise"
“Still I Rise,” is the focus of a two-day exercise that asks learners to trace the development of the theme of emotional opposites (hopelessness/rising above adversity) by highlighting details in Maya Angelou’s poem. They then craft their own antonym poem of negative and positive emotions (left out/chosen, ugly/beautiful) that shows how they feel. Links to the poem and a short biography of Angelou are included.
A Maya Masterpiece
Young scholars analyze the symbols presented in a Maya artifact. They create collages that depict a theme related to contemporary life in their community, and write brief analyses explaining the symbolism of the images they chose.
The Ancient Maya
Students explore the culture of the Mayans through a variety of activities. In this instructional activity about Maya, students analyze pictures in books and on websites, produce scale models of Maya architecture, and create Maya mosaics. Students study Maya myths, analyze and create glyphs or pictures, role-play as warriors, write to a Maya pen-pal, and finally enjoy a Maya feast. Students develop a true understanding of the Maya people by the close of this instructional activity.
Be That As It Maya
Creative projects are a great way to engage your class and can be a fun way to assess mastery! Learners create brochures and postcards that might have been created by and for travelers to ancient Mayan cities. They read and discuss the New York Times article "In Maya Ruins, Scholars See Evidence of Urban Sprawl" and explore a website on Mayan sites.
A Classical Maya News Report
Learners research the culture of the Mayans. In this early civilizations lesson, students research selected Maya city-states including Tikal, Clakmul, Piedras Niegras, and Uaxactun. Learners use their research findings to present news reports to their classmates.
Maya Lesson Plans
Mayan cities may have mysteriously disappeared, but the culture still thrives today. Maya lesson plans bring the culture alive.
Trees are Homes
Who wouldn't want to live in a tree? I would, and so would a variety of other living organisms. First, the class reads the book Maya and the Town That Loved A Tree, by Kiki and Kathryn Shaw, then they discuss how trees can provide basic needs for different plants, insects, and animals. They conduct an observational investigation in the school yard, and discuss what kinds of organisms they saw living near or on the trees. Pupils complete a worksheet to help them process the information they learned during the discussion.
Will America Fall Apart Like the Maya?
Students work in teams to research ancient Mayan civilization as they simulate working for the President of the United States. He is concerned that if a civilization as technologically advanced as the Maya's could disappear, could the U.S. do the same?
Students read about the bags that the Maya people made and about how reusing bags can help save our environment. In this environment lesson plan, students read and discuss conservation and observe pictures.
Who Takes Care of the Maya Forest Corridor?
First graders study the animals in the Maya Forest Reserve. For this conservation lesson, 1st graders create a graph to compare the environment of animals to their own. They design a 3D model of these two environments.
Maya Angelou: Study and Response to "Still I Rise"
Eighth graders respond personally to poetry. In this poem analysis lesson, 8th graders analyze the biographical poem of Maya Angelou titled "Still I Rise." Students elaborate on the language and theme of the poem as they respond to discussion questions about it. Students then write antonym poems in response to Angelou's poem.
Lesson: I Am the Wall
The Maya created amazing stone carvings and sculptures, but what were they for? Kids analyze the significance and purpose of a Maya stela and then write a creative piece. They imagine they are the stela, and write a story about what life as a limestone, and then as a carved stela was like. A great writing prompt that includes art history and research!
Introduction to the Maya Civilization
Learners investigate the Maya civilization. For this Maya civilization lesson, students view a PowerPoint presentation and record notes. Learners explore several important landmarks, such as the "Magician's Palace" at Uxmal.
Autobiography: Maya Angelou
Students study the concepts of autobiography, biography, and fiction as literary genres. They read, study, and analyze Maya Angelou's autobiographical writings in terms of what she intended to accomplish by her writings. They develop and enhance their literary competence by lessons which focus on figurative and symbolic language and on voice or points of view.
Cracking the Maya Code
Students analyze the meaning of Maya glyphs. In this Mayan communication lesson, students use Mayan symbols to calculate their birthdates according to Maya Long Count.
In this famous person worksheet, students read a passage about Maya Angelou and then complete a variety of in-class and homework activities to support comprehension, including partner interviews, spelling, cloze, synonym matches, and scrambled sentences.
Maya Math: From Zero to Nineteen
Students explore counting methods of the ancient Maya, and practice identifying Maya number glyphs.
The Image of Stories-Maya Stela
Students explore filled and empty space in art. In this visual arts lesson plan, students view the Maya "Stela" and various picture books to explore the story within the art pieces. Students create their own stela that tells a story about a person they admire.
Greetings from Maya Angelou
Learners investigate the life and works of Maya Angelou. They complete a Webquest, read poems, listen to a reading by Maya Angelou, answer discussion questions, and write a poem, short story, or essay based on a newspaper article.
Lesson: Bringing Back the Sun: The Story of Jaguar Inspiring Student Stories
What on earth is that jar for? It was an ancient incense burner used by the Maya, that was inspired by the myth of the sun god. Young analysts hear the story of the Mayan sun god, analyze the story through the artistry in the jar, and then write a continuation of the ancient tale. Background information, images, and analysis notes are included.