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LO: To explore the lives of the Maya today and compare this to Mayan life over 2,000 years ago.
What is a comparison? (= “The similarities or differences between two things or people.”
What did we compare last week in our History lesson? (Maya and Egyptian cultures). What else could we compare with regard to the Maya? (ancient Maya and modern Maya).
Even though the Maya population declined dramatically over time, there are descendants of the Maya in central America today. Do you think Maya life has changed? Why would society change over time?
Tradition means “the transmission of beliefs or customs from generation to generation.”
There are about 6 million Maya alive today. How these ‘modern’ Maya live can help us to learn about the ancient Maya, as it creates a window into the life of the Maya over 1,000 years ago.
Watch the videos below and read a variety of texts on the ancient and modern Maya. Take notes whilst listening and watching, selecting the information that you feel is important.
In ancient Maya times, children had very different lives to today. They dressed differently and their homes were much smaller. Families lived in great cities like Yax Mutal and Palenque, and also in surrounding farmland. Adults worked as farmers, warriors, hunters, builders, teachers and many other things. Children from noble families could learn maths, science, writing and astronomy, but poorer children were only taught their parents’ job.
People often think that the Maya only existed in the past. Today there are over 6 million Maya people, most of whom live in Central America and southern Mexico.
What happened to the Mayas? Look at the changes of Mayan life through time:
What are their houses like? What food do they grow? What do they wear? Do they live in towns and cities of villages? What products do they make and sell? What is their music like? Why do tourists go to the area the Maya live in? How does this impact on their life?
Note the similarities and differences between the lives of the Maya today and Mayan life over 1,000 years ago. What traditions do they still uphold? What is different?
Record your findings in the form of a booklet or a poster - please be creative in your presentation. For each finding, please explain your understanding.
The Maya people of today uphold traditions / preserve culture (e.g. religion, through their language, growing corn in the same manner, weaving clothes with traditional patterns, maintaining a close relationship with nature, still using their sacred calendar, maintaining a deep connection with the land and the sky).
The Maya people’s jobs are different (now active participants of the world – teachers, doctors, archaeologists, web designers, Western clothing is now worn as well as traditional clothing, sports (now football).