Olmec Teacher Resources
Find Olmec educational ideas and activities
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Lesson Plan: Communicating With Body Language
The Olmec were an ancient people native to Mexico who lived from 1000-500 BC. Young artists examine the Olmec piece Seated Figure to analyze the use of body language to communicate a tone or feeling. They then use clay or play-dough to create their own expressive sculpture.
K - 5th Visual & Performing Arts
The Mother Culture of Mexico: The Olmecs
Sixth graders study the Olmec civilization. They develop a map of Mexico and a map of the area of the Olmec civilization. They research Olmec art, religion, and architecture. They construct Olmec symbols including giant heads, altars, and sculptures.
6th Social Studies & History
Students explore theories about how the Olmec civilization influenced other Mesoamerican societies. They research the Olmecs to create a museum exhibit of their findings and reflect on how an Olmec person might have understood the culture's influence.
6th - 12th Social Studies & History
Central American Immigrants to the United States: Refugees from Unrest
Students identify the major aspects of Olmec and Mayan civilzations, including economic, political, and religious. They list contributions of these civilizations. Students identify the Central American countries where the United States has exerted either political and or economic control in either covert or overat operations.
6th - 8th Social Studies & History
Native American Groups
These slides are attractively designed but some contain a lot of text. Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, Aztec, Mayan, Olmec, and Mississippi Mound Builders are the pre-colonial Native American groups detailed in this PowerPoint. The government and religious aspect for each is covered.
4th Social Studies & History
The Earliest Native Americans
The ancient Native American culture groups is such a fascinating topic to teach. Provide learners with a basic understanding of the people and cultures that shaped the prehistoric Americas. Paleo-Indians, Missisipians, Clovis, Olmec, Maya, Aztec, Hohokam, Hopewell, and Anasazi are all covered in this helpful presentation.
9th - 11th Social Studies & History
Sure the ancient Mayan civilization had an advanced calendar and mathematical system, but did you know that they also played a great team sport like basketball? Invite your learners to discover the great ballcourt at Chichen Itza and ballgame of the Mayans with this engaging set of worksheets.
5th - 8th Social Studies & History CCSS: Adaptable
Introduce the first team sport to your Spanish class. You'll need to spend a day or two with computers in order to complete the WebQuest. Class members take a tour of Mesoamerica and everything related to the game with the interactive, created by the Mint Museum of Art.
6th - 12th Languages
Ch 2: Early China, Nubia, Meroe, and The First Civilizations in the Americas 2000-221 BCE
While this presentation is somewhat lacking, it may be just enough to supplement a lesson on early civilizations. Young historians provide a brief overview of the politics, society, and technology of ancient China, Nubia, and Mesoamerica. This could use a little refinement but over all, not a bad resource.
8th - 10th Social Studies & History
Ancient Mexico: Mayan, Incan, and Aztec Civilizations
A basic overview of the early civilizations of Central America, this slideshow would be a good foundation for a lesson on the characteristics of these three tribes. It would fold into a unit on world cultures or European exploration quite nicely.
7th - 10th Social Studies & History
Walking in Their Shoes: Civilizations in the Americas: Lesson 13
Sixth graders explore culture by analyzing the Mayan calendar. In this world history lesson, 6th graders discuss the geography of Mesoamerica, the communities that lived there, and the legends they are famous for. Students utilize their computers to research the Aztec, Olmec and Mayan people and to view the Mayan calendar.
6th Social Studies & History
Mask wearing is not just for Halloween! This attractive and informative set of worksheets discusses this important African cultural tradition, as well as a variety of other significant cultural attributes to ancient civilizations, such as divination and demographics.
6th - 10th Social Studies & History CCSS: Adaptable
New Review Dia de los Muertos Educator Resource Guide
What are the origins of el Dia de los Muertos, and how is this tradition observed in contemporary celebrations? With a variety of lesson plans and suggested hands-on activities, here is an excellent resource to reference as you prepare to study the Day of the Dead with your class.
4th - 7th Social Studies & History CCSS: Adaptable
Pre-Colonial Native American Groups
Students investigate U.S. history by researching the Internet and taking a test. In this American Indian group instructional activity, students identify the many specific Native American tribes and their geographic locations. Students research the web and view PowerPoint presentations before completing a Native American test.
4th - 6th Visual & Performing Arts
New Review Arts of the Americas
Machu Pichu, Chichen Itza, Mesa Verde Pueblo. Pyramids, temples, giant stone carvings, kivas. Murals, jewelry, pottery, katsina. The rich array of art and architecture from the Americas is featured in a 130-slide PowerPoint, designed for AP art history and humanities classes, but also appropriate for anyone interested in the history of art in the Americas.
10th - 12th Social Studies & History
Ancient History Math Mystery
Through several organized and attractive worksheets, your learners will make a deduction about tally marks and hieroglyphics to determine what they represent in the ancient numeral system. This is a well-designed, interdisciplinary worksheet with cross-curricular connections between ancient history and math.
6th - 8th Math CCSS: Adaptable
East to West: Africa's Influence on Mexico
Your historians and social anthropologists study the relationship between peoples of ancient Africa and ancient Mesoamerica. They relate in written or verbal form the African presence in the ancient Americas. They create their own Colossal Head of Olmec and display the final products around the school with paragraph descriptions.
7th - 12th Social Studies & History