Aztec Activities & Games

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

The Aztec empire of Central Mexico was a collection of tribes that formed one of the most dominant and advanced civilizations of its time. Use these activities and games to help students learn about the Aztecs.

Ancient Aztecs

When students complain about having to come to school, they might want to blame the Aztecs, , who made education mandatory for children. The Aztec civilization not only had a vibrant culture, complex religion, and beautiful architecture, it was also very advanced for its time. As students learn about the Aztecs, they can understand the contributions the Aztecs made to future civilizations in various areas including mathematics, architecture, farming, and education. Students can also investigate the cultural clashes between the Aztecs and explorers looking to expand their country's influence.

Let's look at some activities and games to help students explore the Aztecs and their historical significance.

Aztec Timeline

Materials

  • Map of Mexico showing the Aztec empire
  • Video clips and/or pictures about important events in the history of the Aztec civilization
  • Sets of index cards listing important events in Aztec history

Teacher Directions

  1. Prior to the lesson, create sets of index cards with important events from Aztec history written on them. Be sure to include these events in your classroom discussion.
  2. Show the class a map of Mexico that shows the location of the Aztec empire. Discuss various important events in the history of the Aztec civilization using video clips and/or pictures to help students visualize the people, places, and things associated with the events.
  3. Divide the class into small groups, and give each group a set of the index cards.
  4. When you say 'go', have each group put their index cards in chronological order based on Aztec history.
  5. The first team to correctly order their timeline wins.

Discussion Questions

  • If you had to use three words to describe the history of the Aztec civilization, what words would you use? Why?
  • Do you feel that the Aztec's responded appropriately to threats from explorers? Why or why not?

Act Out a Myth

Materials

  • Pictures of Aztec gods
  • Access to print/online resources

Teacher Directions

  1. Discuss the Aztec's religion and religious practices. Show the students pictures of the different gods that the Aztecs worshiped and describe the domain of each god.
  2. Divide the class into small groups.
  3. Have each group use print/online resources to research a myth related to one or more of the Aztec gods and create a skit to re-enact the myth.
  4. When the groups are finished, have them present their skits to the class.

Discussion Questions

  • How did the Aztecs use myths to explain the world around them?
  • Describe the role of religion in the Aztec civilization.

Aztec Art

Materials

  • Pictures of Aztec art
  • Art supplies (poster board, clay, markers, paint, paintbrushes, pencils, construction paper, colored pencils, etc.)

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