Prep Five Maya afternoon

Prep Five spent an entertaining and informative afternoon learning about the Maya people this
week with history facilitator Del Bannister. The Maya were an ancient civilization form Mesoamerica, and we found out about their culture, rituals, diet and clothes by working in teams to sort a range of artefacts. Theses included musical instruments, materials, cocoa pods, masks, fabric, a chocolate whisk and a tiny worry doll, (Mrs. Sweeney’s favourite artefact!) as well as an incredibly intricate calendar.

Having studied the artefacts, we could begin to appreciate that the Maya were a lively and colourful civilisation, and this was clearly seen in the clothes which they wore. Adam and Maya modelled the typical outfits of a Maya man and woman beautifully and looked very smart. The clothes also reflected the warm climate of Mayan lands and would certainly not be suited to our current weather!

We also arranged our class so that it reflected the organisation of a Mayan city. This was great for the city ruler, Kian, and the powerful priests Jacob and Hamza, who told everyone what the gods wanted them to do. Then came the nobleman, who also enjoyed positions of authority. The farmers, soldiers and peasants were next in the social pyramid, and finally there were the slaves, any of whom might be needed for a human sacrifice if the gods needed appeasing. This last group were not too happy with their place in the city’s hierarchy!

Our final challenge was a food quiz, and we used our senses to identify nine different foods which the Maya people ate. Some of these were very familiar – we all recognized the vanilla pods and the chili flakes, and Hin Lun was quick to recognise the dried mango, which he often has as a morning snack. Rather more surprising was the lizard and the monkey… we were not sure we would like to find either of these ingredients in our snack boxes!

Prep Five engaged in all the activities with enthusiasm, asking and answering questions thoughtfully like true history detectives. Our thanks go to Mrs. Bannister for all her hard work and organisation, and to all our parents for their continued support.

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