Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mayan Culture and Mayan Stelae

This week students were introduced to the Maya and discovered that they were a very sophisticated and intelligent civilization. They found the Mayas were one of the few ancient cultures to have a number system with zero, and learned that the Maya developed a very accurate calendar system based on the study of astronomy. They also learned about Mayan religion and that the Mayas practiced human sacrifice. This topic always grabs the attention of every student, and I try not to focus on it too much. However, it always proves to be high interest.
Students also learned that the Maya created stelae, tall stone pillars of bas-relief that commemorated a Mayan ruler by recording the history and achievements of the ruler. These stone columns stood as tall as ten feet and were filled with very complicated glyphs and carvings. So as a project, last week students were asked to create their own personal paper stela. Their stela was to show events, achievements, and goals students might have had to date. I always enjoy this assignment because it illustrates the personality of each child and the stelae are so colorful. We put them up in column fashion on the board, to create tall pillars, much as the Maya did with their stela.
Pictures today are of students holding their own stela.

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