The tool technology of the Maya was based on the incredibly hard minerals jadeite and obsidian. Learn how the Maya made beautiful and functional objects and their weaving and pottery skills. Weave a fabric in the Maya style and make pots.

Session 1 Materials

Objectives

History

  • Undertake an in-depth study of a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history - The Maya civilization.

Science

  • Plan different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, report and present findings from enquiries.
  • Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic.

Teaching and Activities

Start by thinking about the types of materials the Maya might have had available to make objects out of. Make predictions about which materials would be used for certain types of objects. Think about which materials would rot and which would survive. Plan an experiment to test what rots and what doesn't.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To deduce what materials the Maya had available to make things out of.
  • To plan and carry out an experiment to test the properties of materials.

Children will:

  • Make deductions about Maya material culture based on historical knowledge.
  • Use their knowledge about the properties of materials to decide what they were used for.
  • Devise experiments to test hypotheses.

You Will Need

  • Samples of materials, e.g. wood, bone, stone, leather, feathers, shell, cotton, wool, metal, plastic, clay, bark, rubber
  • An area of the school grounds to bury materials in

Session 2 Pottery

Objectives

History

  • Undertake an in-depth study of a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history- The Maya civilization.

Science

  • Plan different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, report and present findings from enquiries.
  • Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic.

Teaching and Activities

Find the pottery objects in the collection of images. Use images of Maya pottery to design and make replicas from air-drying clay. Follow the same patterns and images, and try out some of the same techniques to make the replicas, like painting, incising and impressing.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To explore Maya pottery techniques.
  • To plan and carry out an experiment to test different methods of constructing pots.

Children will:

  • Devise an experiment about pottery making techniques.
  • Make pots using several different handmade techniques.
  • Decide, based on their experience, which method the Maya use.

You Will Need

  • Web-enabled devices
  • Air drying clay, clay tools
  • Option to use firing clay and a number of different tempers, e.g. coarse sand, straw, crushed shell, aquarium gravel)

Session 3 Stone

Objectives

History

  • Undertake an in-depth study of a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history - The Maya civilization.

Science

  • Plan different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, report and present findings from enquiries.
  • Give reasons, based on evidence from comparative and fair tests, for the particular uses of everyday materials, including metals, wood and plastic.

Teaching and Activities

Find the stone objects in the collection of images. Think about how Maya people could have carved stone. Make a scientific enquiry to try to see how long it would take to carve a pendant. Carve a replica pendant out of Pears soap.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To explore Maya stone working techniques.
  • To plan and carry out an experiment to test different methods of working stone.

Children will:

  • Devise an experiment about making stone objects.
  • Carry out the experiment.
  • Make an informed prediction about how long it would have taken the Maya to do the same.

You Will Need

  • Web-enabled devices
  • Pears soap (green if you can get it)
  • Selection of stones

Session 4 Weaving

Objectives

History

  • Undertake an in-depth study of a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history - The Maya civilization.

Design and Technology

  • Generate, develop, model and communicate their ideas through discussion, annotated sketches, cross-sectional and exploded diagrams, prototypes, pattern pieces and computer-aided design.
  • Select from and use a wider range of tools and equipment to perform practical tasks [for example, cutting, shaping, joining and finishing], accurately.
  • Select from and use a wider range of materials and components, including construction materials, textiles and ingredients, according to their functional properties and aesthetic qualities.

Teaching and Activities

Plan what materials to use to make a backstrap loom. Try out weaving on a backstrap loom using the number sequence they devised.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To explore Maya weaving.
  • To design, make and use a backstrap loom.

Children will:

  • Design a Backstrap loom.
  • Make a Backstrap loom.
  • Demonstrate how Maya people used the Backstrap loom.

You Will Need

  • Wooden dowels
  • Cut up old belts or pieces of cloth
  • String or yarn,
  • Rulers
  • Bits of card

Session 5 Firing pottery (optional)

Objectives

History

  • Undertake an in-depth study of a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history - The Maya civilization.

Science

  • Plan different types of scientific enquiries to answer questions, report and present findings from enquiries.

Teaching and Activities

Make a pit kiln and fire the dried pots in it, carrying out the experiment on which different fabrics the children used survive the firing.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To learn about how the Maya fired their pottery vessels.
  • To test how different pottery fabrics fare in a bonfire.

Children will:

  • Plan a scientific enquiry.
  • Predict the results of an experiment.
  • Explain how Maya people fired their pottery vessels.

Provided Resources

This session does not need any provided resources.

You Will Need

  • The pots that were made using different tempers
  • Digital camera
  • Spades
  • Wood
  • Fire-lighting equipment
  • A patch of grassland that you don't mind digging up and getting a bit scorched!

Session 6 Maya museum

Objectives

History

  • Undertake an in-depth study of a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history - The Maya civilization.
  • Construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information.

English

  • Give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings.
  • Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates.

Teaching and Activities

Make a living history museum showcasing their new skills and objects they have already made.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To make a living history museum showcasing all their experimentally made objects and skills.
  • To effectively communicate learning in a living history museum.

Children will:

  • Explain how the Maya people made some of their objects.
  • Demonstrate one aspect of Maya technology.
  • Make a presentation in front of an audience.

Provided Resources

  • How to plan a demonstration and presentation about Maya technology

You Will Need

  • Raw materials used previously and objects made in earlier sessions
  • Digital camera or camera enabled device