Latin America Project The Influence of the Maya, Aztec, and Inca What were their influences on modern peoples?

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Latin America Project

The Influence of the Maya, Aztec, and Inca

What were their influences on modern peoples?

As the Europeans began to expand their Empires and trade routes they found a "New World" as they explored the Americas. "The New World was, in a sense, a European invention." As these explorers searched for new ways to reach the Far East they stumbled upon native peoples such as the Maya, the Aztecs, and the Inca. They were not aware that this part of the world existed which meant that they also had no knowledge that there were civilizations that had existed for centuries.

Part of learning about the history of civilizations is to look at their impact upon our lives today.  You will be split into groups of four. Each group will examine one of the three civilizations. Each student in that group will play an integral part in developing a presentation to the class about the history, geography, culture, and influence of that civilization. During each presentation, you will be expected to complete graphic organizer as it relates to the other civilizations.

The Task

Each group will be assigned a civilization (the Inca, the Aztecs or the Maya) that they will be responsible for reporting to the class about.

As a group, decide who will take which roles from the following:

  • The Archaeologist/Architectural Historian

This person is responsible for reporting to the group about where this civilization was found. What modern country/countries would you visit? How large was the civilization? What types of structures did they have? What structures may still be seen today?

  • The Anthropologist  

These persons are responsible for reporting to their group about the culture of the society. What was their religion like? What was their class structure, if any? What was the government structure? What role did government play in the society? What science or technologies did they have? What was the economy like? What did they eat?

  • Historian

This person will help the group with an overview of the history of this society. Who were their important leaders? How do we know what we know about their civilization (books, oral history, etc.)? Who were the western explorers who had early contact with the civilization? What historical events are important to the society?  

  • Sociologist

This person will examine the modern people that are ancestors to the civilization. Who are they? Do they practice traditions from the past? Are they preserving the past? How? Where are the modern ancestors found?

After using the internet and print resources (at least -2- each), each group will prepare a presentation for the class about their civilization. Each presentation must give a brief summary of the civilization as well as that civilization's influence on modern peoples.

Internet Resources (Start with these!)


  • -Mayan General Information

  •     Daily life in the Maya empire

  •     Tour of Chichen Itza (architecture)

  •     Mayan astronomy, math, writing, calendar

  •     General information about all aspects of Mayan life

  • Culture, artwork, architecture


  • - Overview and some cultural aspects of the Aztecs and History

  • A brief history of the Aztecs

  •     Culture and history

  •     Culture and history

  •   Covers all aspects of the Aztecs

  • Culture, artwork, architecture


  •     Daily life in the Inca empire

  •     History, technology and social structure of the Incas

  •    Basic overview of the Incas

  •  History, society, technology and religion of the Incas

  •     The Inca culture

  •     National Geographic: Inca Mummies: Secrets of a Lost World [Go to Photo Galleries for Inca Culture, Machu Picchu, and Peru Today; also go to News and Exhibitions for other useful information


Project Rubric and Checklist

Your project will be graded on the following:

1) Content: Knowledge shared from this activity with the class. (50 points)

Should include, but is not limited to, (use the task descriptions as your guide):
Each sub-category worth 10 points

  • Where the civilization is found and what the geography and architecture is like

  • Who the important leaders of the civilization were/are

  • How the society (culture) was constructed

  • The ancestors of this civilization - Who are they? Where are they found?

  • What the impact of this civilization was on the modern world

2) Graphic Organizer (30 points)

Each sub-category worth 10 points

  • Clear, concise, and complete

  • Information synthesized from presentations

  • At least -2- print and -2- non-print resources utilized and documented per group member

3) Cooperation and Creativity (20 points)
Each sub-category worth 10 points

Total Grade: /100 pts.

Latin America


6th Grade Energy

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Latin America Graphic Organizer



(including important leaders)


(including family practices and religions)

Historical Significance

(including architecture)


On Today’s Society




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