The Marvellous Mayans

Research, create, and present a school project about the marvellous Mayans!

7 – 12 yrs History 3 wks


This short Biteslide project can be built into a wider unit of work about The Mayans, giving students the opportunity to put their research, group work and presentation skills into practice, working in teams to create a project based on the one aspect of ancient life that fascinates them most.

Starter activity

Recap the work you have carried out on The Mayans so far, asking students to contribute with the things they have learned and the things they have found most interesting. You may wish to structure your revision around the Biteslide example project book, using these key questions as a focus:

  • Who were The Mayans?
  • When was The Mayan Civilisation at its peak?
  • Where were The Mayans found?
  • How do we know about The Mayans?
  • What happened to The Mayan Civilisation?

Main activities

  1. Give the students time to explore the example project book for The Mayans in pairs, investigating the content and following the links. To focus this activity, ask the students to consider:

    • What is the purpose of each slide?
    • What information does it give the reader?
    • What elements do each slide use to contain to make them informative, easy to use, and attractive?

  2. Explain to the students that they are going to work in small groups to create the next set of slides for The Mayans project book. The slides they have so far give very general information on The Mayans. The groups will focus on one specific area of Mayan life, researching it in much greater detail. Once the children are divided into groups, they can spend some time discussing and choosing a topic. Suitable topics might include:

    • Mayan armies and battles
    • Mayan stepped temples
    • Mayan hieroglyphs
    • Mayan art
    • Mayan jewellery
    • The Mayan gods

Assessment criteria

  1. Well researched
  2. Factually accurate
  3. Easy to understand
  4. Attractively designed

Sharing projects

Once the projects are completed, the students can be given time to look at and feedback on each other’s work.

Extending your project

  1. Once all of the projects are completed, each group could present their project to the rest of the class, using their Biteslide project book as a slideshow. These could be filmed and embedded into the project books.
  2. The students could use junk modelling material to make models of Mayan artefacts. They could write some notes to accompany these and display them as if they were in a museum.

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US Core Standards
  • Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
  • Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
English National Curriculum

21st Century Skills

  • Critical thinking
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Digital citizenship