When teaching this Mayan unit at KS2, you are advised to use the medium-term planner from which all the outstanding lessons flow. Starting with exploring the reasons why the Maya topic is on the curriculum, pupils learn how the Mayan civilization grew so strong when the odds against it were so huge. They then devote most time to exploring the characteristics features of the Mayan society and comparing it with the state of Britain at the same time i.e. about AD1100.

To help pupils develop the use of evidence, they are asked to work out how we can be so sure about what life was like for the Maya a thousand years ago. The topic concludes with an open-ended enquiry which challenges pupils to work collaboratively to create their own plausible answer to the riddle of why the Mayan  civilization came to such an abrupt end.

Planner, assessment tasks and knowledge organiser

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mayan civilisation knowledge organiser
Mayan civilisation knowledge organiser – KS2

The height of Maya civilization came at the time when the Saxons were fighting the Vikings in Britain, but it…

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Keeping up to-date with teaching of the Maya – Archaeologists uncover scoreboard for ancient Maya ball game

In the Archaeological Zone of Chichén Itzá, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have discovered a…

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12 things you need to know about the Mayan civilization before you teach it at KS2

1. The Mayan settlements were among the largest anywhere in the world in year 1000 In the year 1000 settlements…

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Mayan civilisation – KQ1 – Why do we study the Maya in history at KS2?

Following a brief introduction to locate the Mayan civilization in time and place, stress that we knew very little about…

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Mayan civilisation – KQ3 – What was everyday life in Mayan civilization? How different was it for rich and poor?

Having been introduced to the nature of Mayan society with its clear hierarchy, and having seen various models and artists’…

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Mayan civilisation – KQ4 – How can we possibly know what was life like for the Mayan people 1,000 years ago? SMART TASK

Introduction This multi-faceted enquiry ranges from scene-setting story telling, and making deductions (using the strategies Zones of Inference and Prove…

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Mayan civilisation – KQ5 – Mayan civilization and human sacrifice

KQ5 If the Maya were so civilized why then did they carry out human sacrifice? SMART TASK Please note that…

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Mayan civilisation – KQ5 additional information – Ideas to support your teaching of the Maya religious practices

How will you present cultural practices that differ from our own, such as human sacrifice, as practised by the Maya?…

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Mayan civilisation – KQ6 – Why did the Mayan empire decline? How can we solve the riddle of why the Mayan empire ended so quickly?

When there are apparently 88 competing theories about the end of the Mayan civilization where do pupils start? Well, having…

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Mayan civilisation – KQ6 – Additional information – Why did 90% of Maya ‘disappear’ around 900AD?

This article comes largely from the Historical Association website https://www.history.org.uk/primary/categories/934/module/8747/resource-sharing-hub-key-stage-2/9839/non-european-society Around 900AD, most of the Maya disappeared from the historical…

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