KQ4 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 it!), through to creative uses of evidence with Call My Bluff and Curator’s dilemma. At the heart is pupils asking and answering, historical questions showing an ability to analyse logically and think imaginatively.

Image of statue of the Maya Maize God © The Trustees of the British Museum

This longer enquiry comprises five distinct elements in the suggested order of tackling them. This is not hard-and-fast though, so feel free to use activities B, C, D and E in any order.

A. Story Telling

Introduce the story of the exciting discovery of the funerary mask of Pacal in the 1950s using the opening slides of the PowerPoint Story-telling. Give some background to the discovery of Pacal. After a quick introduction on slide 2, wow the pupils with slide 3 an imaginative reconstruction of that scene. Ask the pupils to work in pairs and come up with 4 things they think they can see which might have surprised the archaeologist Ruz. Then read aloud Ruz’s own description from slide 4. It is worth dwelling on the highly evocative language he uses.

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