Inca Artifacts and Civilization Lesson Plans

By learning about Inca artifacts and this ancient civilization, students can delve into history, geography, and much more.

By Kristen Kindoll

The Inca Civilization was located throughout the Andes Mountains from the Equator down to the tip of Chile. It was one of the most influential ancient civilizations in the Americas, and is worth a thorough study. While the Inca Civilization was prominent, it eventually suffered the same fate as the Aztecs and Mayans; domination by the Spanish conquistadors.

Background and Culture

The website Inca provides great background information on this society and its social structure. The Incas were mighty warriors. They also had a straightforward approach to justice. Punishment for crimes was swift. Immediate death for the offender was not unusual. The Incas were experts at developing drainage systems, which allowed them to grow food on steep slopes or cliffs. Inca Civilization has maps of the area they inhabited.  There is also a list of the emperors and kings who ruled. Similar to the Roman Empire, the Incas developed a sophisticated road system that ran the entire length of the Pacific Ocean.

Students can learn about the couriers of the Inca Empire. It is a superb way to delve into the pros and cons of social networking. There are lessons which describe how couriers relayed messages throughout the massive empire.  It could take less than ten days to receive a message this way, which is truly astonishing for this time period.

Machu Picchu

Another way to discuss the Inca Empire is to talk about Machu Picchu which is located on a hilltop in the Andes Mountains. The Internet has numerous pictures to aide in studying this famous Inca site.

The Incas used Alpacas for a variety of tasks and they were beloved animals. In fact, this animal is still a vital resource for the people living in the Andes today. Many American families have become intrigued by the smaller version, the Llama.  The Alpaca produces a beautiful fiber product, but is tame and very clean compared to other domesticated species.  You can find lists of local farms on the Internet which could provide a fun daytrip.

The Andes Mountains is the backbone of South America.  Its dramatic landscape is worth studying in conjunction with an Inca unit. Plants, animals and climate can be explored. If this has whetted your appetite for more things Inca, try the lessons below.

Inca Artifacts and Civilization Lesson Plans:

Art of the Inca has children make metal masks.  Students use geometric patterns and try to recreate Incan craftsmanship.  There are pictures of other children’s work as references.

Making a Relief Map uses the PBS video Inca as introduction to the lesson.  Students study how the Incas rose from a village society into an empire.  Students can make a relief map of the empire for a fun activity.

Inca Worksheet has ten questions and one essay that could be used as either a quiz or test.  There is a word bank to help with the answers.

Homeschooling Guide

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Kristen Kindoll