Activity Title: Play Ball! Grade Level: Sixth Grade Subject



Download 17.75 Kb.
Date conversion02.06.2016
Size17.75 Kb.
Activity Plan Using Primary Sources
Author: Jean Heil
School Name: St. Ambrose School, Godfrey, IL
Activity Title: Play Ball!
Grade Level: Sixth Grade
Subject: World History
Approximate Time Frame to complete activity: Two-three class periods (The first period would be analyzing the primary sources and answering the questions. The second and third period would be completing the activity)
Theme / topic: Students will analyze three sources that are related to the ancient Mayan ballgame ritual/religious ceremony. They will discover how the Mayan culture used glyphs, ceremonial replications and other practical tools in this significant part of their polytheistic and religious culture.
Choose 2 to 3 primary sources. Add the following information for each source:



  1. Ballplayer relief panel. Guatemalan Lowlands. La Carona (Site “Q”). Maya, AD 550–950. Limestone. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (11)

  • What do you think this is a picture of? What makes you think that?

  • What objects could be placed into this picture that would belong?

  • What would you expect to hear if you were where this picture was taken?

  1. Ceremonial ballgame yoke in form of a toad. Mexico. Veracruz. Maya, AD 200–400. Carved gray granite. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (13)

  • What do you think this is a picture of? What makes you think that?

  • What might the objects in this picture be saying?

  • Write a caption for this picture that you feel explains what this picture is about.

  1. Guatemalan Lowlands. AD 600–900. Mold-made, cream-slipped, ceramic with red cinnabar. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress (12a–12d)

  • List 3-5 possible uses for this object.

  • If this object could talk, what would it tell you about the time it was created?

  • Choose one object in this picture and list at least 5 adjectives to describe it.



Background Information after brief research of topic/theme and/or primary sources:

  • Source #1:Ritual ballgames were an integral part of the political and ritual life of ancient Mesoamerica. Many of the most vivid images of the game come from Maya artifacts. This limestone relief shows an ornately dressed player—most likely a nobleman—kneeling and about to strike a ball. Two hieroglyphs are lightly incised into the background of the relief near the forearm of the player, giving his name and title. On the second of the two glyphs is the spelling of the word “pitz,” translated as “ballgame” or "ballplayer." (This information was taken from myLOC Home » Exhibitions » Exploring the Early Americas » Pre-Contact America » Ritual, Ceremonies, and Celebrations  »)

  • Source #2: This Maya granite ballgame yoke or belt is carved with an abstract image of a toad. The ballgame, played by two opposing sides with a solid rubber ball, was prevalent throughout the cultures of Mesoamerica. Carved stone yokes, like this one, are probably replicas of the leather or wood versions worn by players. (This information was taken from myLOC Home » Exhibitions » Exploring the Early Americas » Pre-Contact America » Language and Context )

  • Source #3: The ancient Mayan ballgame was the sport of kings and commoners alike. Seen as a cosmic contest played by planetary gods in the heavens and as the game of life and death with the Lords of the Underworld, ballcourts were places of sacrifice and, literally, portals into Xibalba, the Maya Underworld. Research, based in part on the Kislak Collection of Maya miniature flasks, suggests that they contained tobacco-based medicines, liniments, and magical potions used by ballplayers, among others, and ballgame themes are commonly represented. (This information was taken from myLOC Home » Exhibitions » Exploring the Early Americas » Pre-Contact America » Ritual, Ceremonies, and Celebrations  )


Developing the Activity:


  1. What would be the one essential question that students could answer using supporting evidence from the 2-3 sources above?

  • What can you conclude about the Mayan culture and the importance/significance of the ballgame to their everyday lives and existence?



  1. What prior knowledge will students need to analyze the above sources, if any?

  • Students will have already had an introduction to the Mayan culture and have basic prior knowledge of that time and some of their religious ceremonies. This prior knowledge is gained through secondary source materials such as teacher knowledge and information from student textbook.




  1. How would you assist students in analyzing the historical source you have chosen?

Per group:

  • Copies of the pictures of the above three sources.

  • Worksheet of questions to be asked for each source (see attached)

  • The “essential question” worksheet (see attached)

  • The activity assignment worksheet (see attached)




  1. What questions will students have after investigating these sources to continue their research?



  • What do other artifacts tell us about the Mayan culture besides the ballgame?

  • How were the artifacts found and how are they preserved now?

  • How are Mayan artifacts similar and different than other cultures’ artifacts during this time period?

  • Did other cultures have games like the Mayans? What were they and what did they mean to that culture?




  1. Offer an example assessment/assignment/project that would allow students to create, perform, illustrate, or share their understanding of a topic/theme after investigating the sources?



  • The assessment project would be a choice for students. They can draw their own glyph using symbols they either research or make up on their own that depicts a Mayan ballgame. They can write a newspaper article as if they were a sports reporter attending a Mayan ballgame. They can act out a Mayan ballgame using props they make themselves. They can write and perform a song that might have been the “Mayan National Anthem” to have been sung at the start of each game.




  1. How would this activity fit into your curriculum?



  • My world history curriculum briefly covers the Olmec and Maya people groups. This activity would expand my students’ experience and understanding of what life may have been like during this time and how the Mayan culture has influenced our culture today.




  1. What IL standards could be met by this activity?




  • STATE GOAL 16: Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations.

  • STATE GOAL 18: Understand social systems, with an emphasis on the United States.


The database is protected by copyright ©essaydocs.org 2016
send message

    Main page