Central & South America

The Incas and the Aztecs are well established curriculum topics. The Maya are now also an optional unit of study. In this section you will find podcasts articles and guides to help develop your knowledge and plan to teach this world study.

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  • What can you tell about the Maya from a Spanish soldier?

    Article

    This article focuses on the links between the Maya and Europe in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, exploring the impact of the Spanish on the life and times of the Maya, as seen through the eyes of one man – Gonzalo Guerrero, who was shipwrecked off the Yucatan peninsula...

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  • Studying the Maya

    Article

    Most pupils like history, but some struggle with aspects of reading and writing – how can we make history more accessible? This article explores some ways I have found useful in engaging pupils of all abilities. It will focus on activities that might be used in studying the Non-European Society...

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  • Teaching history and geography together in a meaningful way

    Article

    This article explores some of the  ways history and geography can be taught side by side, so that the sum of the parts adds up to more than the original. How can we teach history with geography and vice  versa, to the benefit of both, while fulfilling the aims of...

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  • Scheme of Work: Maya

    Article

    In this unit pupils will learn about the remarkable achievements of the ancient Maya. Through these activities pupils will learn about the Maya perspective of time, the calendar system, writing, maths and the environment.  In doing so they should see the stark contrast between their own history and that of...

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  • The Maya: a 4,000-year-old civilisation in the Americas

    Article

    Obscured by the fame of the Aztec empire or shrouded by a veil of mystery, the cultural history of the Maya has generally been misunderstood by the British public. Maya civilisation developed in a territory the size of Germany and Denmark together (nearly 400,000 km2). This vast territory shows three...

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  • Curriculum Planning: which non-European society might we offer at school?

    Article

    A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history - one study. chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300. That's quite clear then - there's a choice between early Islam, Central America or...

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  • Curriculum Planning: World Study

    Article

    ‘A non-European society that provides contrasts with British history - one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.' That's quite clear then - there's a choice between early Islam, Central America or...

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  • Long ago or far away: the Global perspective

    Article

    Introduction Even an inclusive national history curriculum can make Britain (and Europe) appear as the lynchpin of world history. Without a coherent structure for global history, young people remain unaware that continents beyond Europe have histories of equal significance. This article suggests ways children can explore how sophisticated human societies...

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  • Aztec Experience

    Article

    Take a holiday with the Aztecs! Children design holiday brochures. History providing a context for literacy. Demonstration and modelling of the holiday brochure genre, and the transfer of understanding of the generic form into an historical context. Pupils produced their own brochures giving information about life in the Aztec capital,...

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  • Culture Shock: The Arrival of the Conquistadores in Aztec Mexico

    Article

    When the Spanish Conquistadores arrived in Mexico during the early sixteenth century there were many repercussions for the indigenous people. Their conversion to Christianity and the sacking of their temples are two of the most well known examples.  However, it is often forgotten that the Aztecs had only a pictorial...

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  • Confounding expectation at Key Stage 3: flower-songs from an indigenous empire

    Article

    In this article Nicolas Kinloch examines aspects of an indigenous empire: that of Aztec Mexico. He attempts to persuade a group of mixed-ability Year 8 students to examine - and question - some of the assumptions they bring to the study of this empire. Their attitudes reflect quite widespread beliefs...

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