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The Mighty Mayans of Fifth Grade

STudent near a Mayan project displayReplicas of Mayan artifacts were on display in the hallway of the fifth-grade wing at Somers Intermediate School.

For the past six weeks, students have been learning about the ancient Mayan civilization by reading many non-fiction articles about various aspects of the Mayan culture, such as religion, cities, art, writing, math, and astronomy. Their studies culminated with both an essay and the creation of a Mayan artifact replica.

“I made a Mayan ball game,” said Kylie Schreiber. “I made it because I loved hearing about it, and it was very interesting to me.”

Students prepared to write an essay about a few aspects of Mayan culture that interested them the most by doing additional research with online websites and by reading magazines and books to supplement the topics they’d chosen to write about.

“I didn’t know anything about them before,” said Mia Romano of the ancient Mayans. “One interesting thing that stands out to me is that they had human sacrifice. If you lost at Kylie’s game (Mayan ball game), you got sacrificed.”

After they’d written their essays, students were tasked with hand-creating an artifact of their choice that would complement their essays and provide context as to how the Mayans used the artifact.

Student in blue Nike hoodie at table of Mayan art artifacts from class“I chose to do a headdress because I wanted to do something that I knew I could decorate a lot,” said Andrew Lawrence. “Some of my design came from looking at pictures and some of it was from my imagination.”

Each artifact was unique in the way it was created. Some students crafted with materials like clay, beads, feathers, and paint, while other students used small toys such as Lego blocks and figurines to help bring authenticity to their creations. No matter what materials were used, all students showed great resourcefulness and imagination with their artifacts, helping to give other classes a glimpse into the lives of the Mayan people.