For Teachers

The sites below are cited under Activities and Resources. The Resources offered are merely suggestions. Teachers will undoubtedly want to supplement them.

1.  Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies, Inc. (FAMSI): A wonderful repository for all things Maya. Some sections are too advanced for most students. There are, however, many very helpful things on the site for middle grade & high school students. Under the Resources tab, check out the section for teachers. Pamphlet handbook titled “Casa K’inich” contains info & activities perfect for students. Also, the site contains good sections on maps and photographs of sites & artworks.

2. A comprehensive photographic tour of Maya sites. Each site has a diagram of the monumental structures linked to photographs of the same structures.

3. Children’s Guide to Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya: A very informative & interesting guide to an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art (Washington DC) in 2004. Iconic image of Maya ball player on cover. Contains fun worksheets on Maya writing and math.

4. Cracking the Maya Code website: The PBS site corresponds to the NOVA presentation, “Cracking the Maya Code.” Excellent interactive piece on Mayan writing, including saying the words highlighted in Maya. Good interactive sections on Maya time and Maya cities.

5. The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame: The most comprehensive site for information about the ancient Mesoamerican ballgame. It is lively, interactive, well-researched, and a lot of fun. Be sure to check out the Classroom Connections tab for more info. & lesson plans.

6. Contains a wealth of information about animals for all age groups from elementary (KIDS tab) through high school.

7. Mesoweb: Wonderful photographs from The National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. Be sure to click on small glyph to bring up Mesoweb Subsites which contain much info, including detailed rubbings of Maya sculptures by Merle Robertson.

8. Maya Adventure: photographs, activities, and information about a variety of Maya sites by the Science Museum of Minnesota.

9. Kidipede: Sort of a kid version of Wikipedia. For some strange reason, info. about the Maya is included under South America tab. Best when it discusses food.



ACTIVITY: Do one of the following:

1)  Create headdress of ballplayer using directions in Classroom Connections at ballgame site.

2) Using Classroom Connections at ballgame site, prepare chart on poster paper showing the parts of a ball player’s uniform & explaining the function of each item.

2)  Create model of a ball court including placement of ball players.


1) The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame;

2) FAMSI (Casa K’inich)

3) Children’s Guide to Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya



ACTIVITY: Prepare one of the following recipes & serve to class: guacamole, popcorn, sweet potato pie. Create a chart showing the foods we owe to the people of Mesoamerica.

RESOURCE: for recipes, Kidipede, click on S. America, then Maya, then crafts & projects.


ACTIVITY: 1) Print out Maya math handout from Casa K’inich. Ask students to complete handout by filling in blank spaces using Maya math.

2) Write your telephone or cell # as the ancient Maya would have. Then write the tel. or cell #s for three family members or friends.


1) FAMSI (Casa K’inich)

2) Children’s Guide to Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya

 3) Cracking the Maya Code website


ACTIVITY: Pick one of the following:

1) Copy a glyph on poster board. Explain its meaning in a paragraph on the poster. On another poster board, create a glyph that represents you. Explain in a paragraph on the poster.

2) Using Children’s Guide to Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya, create your Maya name and the Maya names of four others (family, friends, pets).


1) FAMSI (maya writing/calvin/royal dynasties) (Casa K’inich);

2) Children’s Guide to Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya

3) Cracking the Maya Code website (listen to Maya being spoken)


ACTIVITY: Research Maya jewelry & prepare a portfolio of your drawings.


1) FAMSI (search for “jewelry); review Justin Kerr’s wonderful photos.

2) Mesoweb (The Cultures of Ancient Mexico) (the rubbings of Maya sculptures by Merle Robertson).


ACTIVITY: Review the Maya creation myth from the Popol Vuh and complete one of the following: 1) create a modern myth using the Maya myth of the Hero Twins as a guide; 2) create a painting based on the Maya myth.

RESOURCE: The Sport of Life and Death: The Mesoamerican Ballgame (there is a print-out of a section of the Popol Vuh).



1) Create a map showing the locations of the major Maya cities in Mesoamerica. Note on the map the countries today where such cities can be found. Also note main geographic features such as mountains, rivers, seas.

2) Create a map or model of a typical Maya city. Note the following: temples, ball court, market, palaces for the wealthy, maya huts for the rest of the people.



2) FAMSI (maps & Casa K’inich)

3) Children’s Guide to Courtly Art of the Ancient Maya

 4) Cracking the Maya Code website


ACTIVITY: Select one of the following. Research it on the National Geographic website and prepare a report to read to the class. Explain the importance of your choice to the ancient Maya. If your animal or bird is endangered, describe the actions being taken to save it.

1) birds (quetzal, scarlet macaw, or ocellated turkey)

2) turtles (loggerhead or leatherback)

3) jaguars

4) American crocodiles

5) howler monkeys

RESOURCE: (both KIDS and regular site)


ACTIVITY: 1) Compare and contrast two of these Maya cities, including location, history, time of prominence, architecture, and art.

Tikal                Lamanai           Bonampak       Yaxchilan

Palenque          Copan             Chichen Itza



2) FAMSI (maps, photos, Casa K’inich)

3) Mesoweb (entire section on Chichen Itza)

4) Cracking the Maya Code website (good section on Palenque)

5) Maya Adventure


ACTIVITY: Research the methods used to build Maya pyramids. Create a model of a pyramid complex & report to the class.


1) Maya Adventure (Puuc Architecture, Toltec-Maya Architecture)


3) Cracking the Maya Code website

 4) Mesoweb


ACTIVITY: Compare the Maya way of noting time to our own. Give the date for your birth and the birthday for three others (family, friends, celebrities) according to the Maya calendar.


1) FAMSI (Casa K’inich)

2) Cracking the Maya Code website