PowerPoint Shows

Europe is ready to see the world. We'll go with them!

A look at Mayan society and early technology.

The Mayans rose to be a great power then disappeared... then came back... then were conquered. What a ride!

What if the Mayans were like 10 times crazier? Yeah, that's the Aztecs.

They never met the other two tribes but share many similarities nonetheless.

Let's see what happened when Cortes and Pizarro arrived in the Americas.

Lessons and Activities

Latin America

1. Digging for the Truth - The Temple - lead your students on a scripted investigation into a mysteries temple. This is a great introduction to the unit. Here's an optional worksheet you can give them so they can track along with you.

2. Maya Walkthru - A simple series of comprehension questions based on the graphics in Holt's Medieval to Early modern Times used to introduce or review the Mayans in one day.

3. Maya Culture Shock - Students experience decoding Mayan glyphs and making glyphs of their own.

4. History Mystery: The Mayan Disappearance - a critical thinking based lesson where students make inferences from a series of sources about what may have caused the disappearance of the Classic Maya.

5. Maya DBQ - A higher-level version of the walkthru above. It uses many of the same images but requires students to analyze them in greater depth and use them to support a position.

6. Read 'n Think: Mayan Creation - A short reading activity providing test-practice and an interesting story about the Maya.

7. Explorers & Mayans Strategy Guide - A review activity for the first quiz in the unit covering Explorers and Mayans.

8. Aztec Walkthru - as above but for the Aztecs.

9. Inca Walkthru - as above but for the Inca.

10. Aztec/Inca Culture Shock - Mini-activities on Latin American "writing" systems, the difficulty of language barriers, Inca riddles and the Aztec calendar. In the "writing" lab divide students into 3 groups - one for each of the Latin American peoples. While reading the story aloud the Mayans may write notes using words (since they had a syllabic language), the Aztecs may only draw pictures (pictographic language) and the Inca can only use strings you provide them to tie knots (no written language). They then take a quiz to compare which is most effective. For the language barriers students are assigned a have and a want. They must find their trade partner using only physical communication.

11. Create-a-Codex - a group activity where students do research on a specific Aztec topic and create a 4-5 panel codex to represent their topic.

12. Versus - A 30 minute reading assignment based on Holt's Medieval to Early Modern Times but adaptable to any textbook or article on the topic. Students read assigned passages and are guided through a comparison of Aztec and Inca culture.

13. The Heuxotzinco Codex - a primary-source based lesson where students analyze an Aztec codex made shortly after the conquest. Worksheet 1 Worksheet 2 Answer Key (adapted from a lesson from the Library of Congress found here.)

14. Weigh the Evidence: Maya - a lesson designed with the Common Core in mind. Students analyze a series of sources and weigh their reliability to help answer the open-ended question "Were the Mayans an advanced civilization?"

15. HA - Inca Origins - Students analyze two accounts of the origins of the Inca to try to determine which is mythical and which is historical.

16. Inca: Did it Happen? - Students compare primary source, first-hand accounts of the Great Meeting between Atahualpa and Pizarro to the secondary account given in their textbook to determine if the accepted story actually happened. (Adapted from a lesson from the Stanford History Education Group at

17. Latin America: Where Am I? - A multimedia adventure where students have crashed in an unknown empire in Latin America. They must use all they've learned from the unit to find out where they are. Students must analyze locations, buildings and artifacts and provide evidence for their conclusions. Functions similarly to a DBQ but in a way more engaging way.

18. Resistance: DeCoded - What if the Mayan language was a code used by time-traveling terrorists? This Breakout/Escape room is extreme!


1. Age of Exploration Walkthru - Basic worksheet analysis maps and timelines from Holt's Early to Medieval Modern Times.

2. Age of Exploration Culture Shock - Mini-activities including an analysis of a dance based on sailing, writing directions without landmarks and finding what is missing from a painting about the time period.

3. Read 'n Think: Columbus - Short reading practice with comprehension questions about Christopher Columbus.

4. Read 'n Think: Drake - Short reading practice with comprehension questions about Sir Francis Drake.

5. Going for the Gold - Reading assignment based on Holt's Medieval to Early Modern Times that compares the achievements of the Spain and Portugal during the Age of Discovery.

6. Maps! - a two-part lab introducing the concept of map analysis to students. In part 1 students analyze individual images and captions from the Catalan Atlas. In part 2 they use those skills to analyze 5 more medieval maps and attempt to order them chronologically. This can serve as an introduction to the difficulties explorers faced in the Age of Discovery. The lab consists of heavy primary source analysis and collaboration making it perfect for Common Core.

7. Did It Happen?: Columbus - A comparison between a secondary source claim and the primary source record relating to it specifically asking if Columbus truly died believing he had found Asia.