Friday, May 9, 2014

Maya and Aztec calendar craft

We spent some time talking about the Olmec, the Aztec, and the Maya, as they were the first civilizations to cultivate cacao and use it for drinking. Sam had a great class in college about the Maya, and he knows a lot about them, so we will have to revisit this subject another time so we can do more justice to that great civilization. This time, we just read a few books and learned some interesting facts about the Aztec and the Maya.

Here's a short video about some of the technology of the Aztecs

One thing we learned was about the Aztec calendar system (which came from the Maya) and we made calendars that showed how that worked: there was a regular calendar and a religious calendar, and the intersection of the two determined when various holy days fell in the year. (You can read general instructions here. We put our two calendar wheels side by side instead of one within the other.) We copied the glyphs out of one of our books, but you can find some here as well.
We also made "embossed" medallions like the Aztecs did, by drawing with blunt pencils on aluminum foil and then folding the foil onto cardboard circles. You can punch a hole, add a ribbon, and actually hang these around your neck, but we didn't.
I thought it was really funny how one of our books mentioned all these long, difficult Aztec names like Cuauhtémoc and Tenochtitlán (I would have never been able to pronounce them without Sam's help!)...
But then the glossary didn't even give a pronunciation guide for those words, instead helpfully showing us words like claim (KLAYM) and explore (ek-SPLOR). Thanks a lot!
We also made coiled clay pots like the Aztecs did. Seb thought his looked like a CFL bulb,
So he made it into a CFL bulb.
Then he made an incandescent bulb and had a bright idea! Silly, silly.

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