Why did the Mayan empire decline? KQ6 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 asked them to predict possible reasons they are then placed in research teams under the guidance of 5 leading experts: Dr. Drought, Professor Poorsoil, Dr. Disease, Professors Rival and Revolt , and finally Professor Combo. Each team has to advocate its particular theory with Professor Combo’s group of the most able having the unenviable task of synthesising all the ideas. They visit the evidence bank, carefully select only relevant material and then, against the clock make their case.

KQ6: Can we solve the riddle of the decline of the Maya?

Learning objectives

  • Pupils are able to draw on a wider knowledge of other civilizations to suggest possible reasons for fall of the Maya.
  • They are able to give at least 2 valid reasons for the Mayan demise.
  • They show an understanding of the provisional and uncertain nature of the conclusions we are able to draw and can use an appropriately tentative language to express this.
  • They can begin to see how factors can be linked.
  • The most able can explain why a combination of factors is the most likely explanation.
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