History KS2 / KS3: Mayan Innovations & Inventions

Petro, Diaco, Donnel and Hedia form the panel of steely potential investors with cacao beans to present to Maya inventors, if they can impress the panel with their products.

The products are real Mayan innovations and include jewellery, a “world first” in agricultural irrigation, a load-carrying tumpline, and the complex Maya calendar.

Contrasts are made with British civilisation at the time.

This short film is from the BBC series, History of Early Civilisations - Maya. Through parodies of reality TV shows, this series introduces different aspects of the Maya civilisation.

Teacher Notes

Research a range of Maya inventions.

Compare to innovations, for example in agriculture, in Britain in the same era (for example, a horse collar).

Compile a class glossary of Maya terms.

Create a crossword with definitions.

Create own models for museum display, with captions.

Plan own Lions’ Lair programme and critique other areas of Maya life seen in these short films about fashion, buildings, etc.

Curriculum Notes

This short film is suitable for teaching history at Key Stages 2 and 3 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and Second and Third Level in Scotland.

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