Latin America

Latin America PowerPoint Presentations


The story of the European explorers is exemplified in the voyages of Columbus.

Mayan Origins

What was happening on the other side of the world during the medieval period?

Mayan Fall

After growing strong the Mayans disappeared for 300 years. Then they came back!

The Aztec

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

The Inca

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

The Spanish

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

Old versions

Maya Lecture Notes Aztec Lecture Notes Inca Lecture Notes


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.

Media Guide