Hello to the mighty Year 6!
When SATs are finished (and for this year they are!) I like to do our two best history topics of the year. Here’s the first one.
We go back in time to 1514 to the great city of Sevilla in Spain. There we meet the brave explorer Cortez the Killer. We are persuaded to leave our families and loved ones to sail with him across the wide Atlantic Ocean in a little wooden ship, the San Miguel, on a journey to The New World. Why? To find riches, gold and jewels beyond our wildest dreams so we can return to Spain as wealthy men.
The place we land in the New World is home to the ancient Mayan Empire. We meet the inhabitants, the Mayans. We learn about their history, culture and beliefs; their food, art and sports.
We try to find answers to these questions:
1) Where in the world have we landed?
2) Why was the New World called the New World?
3) What made Mayan cities better than the ones we left behind in Europe?
4) How were Mayan doctors and scientists better than European ones?
5) What foods did the Mayans eat (which you all eat now) but which were unknown in Europe in 1514?
6) Why did the Mayan people build such huge temples (that are still standing today) and what ceremonies were carried out in them?
7) Did they invent the world’s first team sport? What was it? And what really happened to the losing team?
8) What gods did the Mayan people pray to? Were the Spanish right to try to force them to believe in Jesus?
9) Who were the most important people in Mayan society?
10) What was the simple VIRUS that killed millions of people in that part of the world and how did it get there? (clue: it wasn’t coronavirus)
Use the powerpoints, worksheets and video links (below) and your own research to help you answer some (or all) of these questions.
Fun things we would have done in school – but which you can try at home just as well.
* Make a Mayan mask or jewellery
* Cook some Mayan food and have a Mayan feast
* Build a model of a Mayan temple using your knowledge of square numbers
* Write messages using colourful Mayan glyphs