Monday, August 1, 2016

Pre-Columbian Unit Study/ Aztec, Mayan, and Incan Resource List and Reviews

Complete list of Precolumbian unit resources and project photos. Awesome!
Books, mask, pottery, and calendar

This is my top list for Pre-Columbian unit study resources! It integrates the Aztec, Mayan, and Incan cultures. Because these resources were so comprehensive, we skipped additional library books and supplemented with BrainPop and Britannica.

Extra project photos:
Precolumbian Unity Study - Aztec Temple Statue activity. Lots of resources with tons of pics!
Aztec temple statue made from free, recycled boxes. We added important vocabulary on the side of the statue.

Complete list of Precolumbian unit resources and project photos. Awesome!
Replica of Aztec pottery - the original artifact is made of obsidian and adorned with a monkey. Our version uses air dry clay and tempera paint.

And now for my resource list! 
You'll find a little of everything here - arts/crafts, short passage reading, chapter books, and field trips ideas.

 Activity Books
Aztecs: Dress, Eat, Write and Play Just Like the Aztecs (Hands-On History)
Hands-on History Aztecs review plus tons of other Precolumbian resources. Complete list and photos of activity examples!

My absolute favorite resource! Each aspect of Aztec life is introduced, then followed with a craft or activity. The historical information sections are short and directly correlate to the activity. Lessons are presented in a two-page format. The first page and half are historical text and illustrations, the remaining portion lists supplies and activity instructions.

  • Supplies are common items so our purchases were minimal. The majority of projects can be made with paint, construction paper, air dry clay, markers, etc. 
  • Because of the common supply list and excellent directions, activities are equally suited for classroom or homeschool use. 
  • The directions are clear - my student (age 10) worked independently on all the activities. Always a bonus. 
  • Activities and projects were fun! 
  • Full color with engaging graphics
  • Wish it was longer and included other Precolumbian cultures!
  • Some projects take more than a session to complete. Example: one session to form a piece of pottery, another session to paint after the clay had hardened and dried. 

Hands-On History! Aztec and Maya: Rediscover the lost world of ancient Central America, with 450 exciting pictures and 15 step-by-step projects
Hands-on History Aztec and Maya review. Tons of Precolumbian unit resources, reviews, and project activity photos!

My second favorite resource. Parts of this book are impressive, especially the historical text. The chapters are presented "encyclopedia style".  Expect short paragraphs with tons of illustrations. Each topic begins with several pages of reading, then the activity follows.

  • The historical text and illustrations are phenomenal - great content!
  • Comprehensive contents - this book had so many interesting topics (including many that were not as addressed as fully in Aztecs: Dress, Eat, Write, and Play Just Like the Aztecs). 
  • Full color
  • The projects and activities were labor intensive and required purchasing many new supplies such as: feathers, cane/bamboo sticks, wood veneer strips, straw, etc. 
  • Supply list might be cost-prohibitive for many, or simply just hard to find.
  • Many activities require cutting cardboard pieces to a specific size with a blade - a safety hazard for most kids. I tired of this quickly!

Reproducible Workbook
Mayan, Incan, and Aztec Civilizations Resource Book
    Mayan, Incan, and Aztec Civilizations Review - Plus tons of other Precolumbian unit resources!

    This workbook is more standards and comprehension driven. It will appeal to those students who dislike crafts. Each lesson is short - one page or two of text, then a reading comprehension "knowledge check". An answer key is provided at the back of the book.

    • Reproducible lessons make preparation a snap
    • The lessons are short and full of interesting details
    • Introduces terminology and words specific to the culture not found in other books
    • Answer keys for grading
    • Black and white workbook lacks color and visual interest
    • No crafting/activities can be difficult for kinesthetic learners
    • Most of the fun for my daughter in unit studies is the activities, so she was happy to have the other Hands-On History books! 

    Horrible Histories Incredible Incas review. This site has a complete list of Precolumbian unit resource and photos of activities! Chapter Book
    The Incredible Incas (Horrible Histories)
    Love, love, love this series! My daughter begs for me to load these onto her kindle. She read the Groovy Greeks, Incredible Incas, and Ruthless Romans in less than a week.

    This series truly brings history to life. Every time I ask my daughter what she learned from the book, her answers floor me. When stories are told in an entertaining way, students remember so much information. A must-have resource!

    Art/ Coloring Book
    Huge list of resources for Precolumbian unity study for Inca, Maya, and Aztec cultures. Site has photos of activities, too. Awesome!

    Aztec: 70 designs to help you de-stress (Coloring for Mindfulness)
    Just a fun addition to study motifs and color in Aztec culture. The design are printed double-sided on cardstock weight paper. The weight works well for a variety of media - we've used watercolor, pastels, and markers. The designs are intricate, detailed, and beautiful!

    Field Trips
    Temple of the Jaguar Exhibit
    Dallas World Aquarium - Mundo Maya presentation. Site has huge list of resources for Precolumbian unit study and activity photos!
    Photo with performers at Mundo Maya

    After studying about the importance of jaguars and feathers in the Aztec culture, we caught a short music and dancing presentation at the Dallas World Aquarium. It's upstairs in the Mundo Maya section. The costumes are incredible up close! And yes, those are live birds :)

    Other field trip ideas:
    • Zoo or animal sanctuary to study jaguars - an important and sacred animal to the Aztecs.
    • Aviary or area where exotic birds can be viewed. Discuss the importance of craftsman who collected feathers and created elaborate headdresses.
    • Art museum - to see golden artifacts such as Precolumbian masks.
    • Chocolatier - compare modern chocolate to the bitter drink appreciated by Aztec nobles.

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. I will earn a small commission {at no cost to you} should you make a purchase. Thank you for supporting my homeschooling adventures so I can continue to share my experiences and resources with you!