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Aztec Inca



Poetry Booklet

Name ________________________

I’m an archaeologist and I’m here to say,

“I study ancient cultures everyday.

Sometimes I write a paper, sometimes I read a book,

But mostly I just dig down deep and take a look.”
Artifacts, ruins, mummies too,

Doing the archaeologist bugaloo!
A Mexico City ditch digger strikes a carved rock;

Archaeologists are consulted and receive quite a shock.

With further excavation, eleven layers are revealed,

Of the Aztec Great Temple and the art work it concealed.
Artifacts, ruins, mummies too,

Doing the archaeologist bugaloo!
High up in the Andes well-preserved beneath the ice,

A team of experts finds an Inca mummy sacrifice.

The contents of her stomach tell the type of food she ate,

And ritual objects help us reconstruct her final fate.
Artifacts, ruins, mummies too,

Doing the archaeologist bugaloo!
Thousands of books were written, but only four escaped destruction,

So we’re grateful for the glyphs the Maya carved on their constructions.

We’re working with computers to decipher what they tell

About their politics, religion and the sky they knew so well.
Artifacts, ruins, mummies too,

Doing the archaeologist bugaloo!


I know an ancient city,

An ancient Aztec city,

An ancient Aztec city

Built in the middle of a lake.

With canals for transportation,

Aqueducts for drinking water,

And agricultural chinampas

Sustaining nearly a million people!

I know an ancient city,

An ancient Aztec city,

An ancient Aztec city

That ruled a vast and populous empire.
With towering sacred temples,

Smelting furnaces for precious metals,

And busy markets of commerce

Serving sixty thousand a day!

I know an ancient city,

An ancient Aztec city,

Built where an eagle on a cactus

Gave Tenochtitlán its name.

I’m a Mayan astronomer,

My calculations are precise and sure.

Charting earth’s orbit around the sun,

Our calendar’s as good as the modern one.
I observe,

I record,

I compute the solar year.
With a back strap loom I sit and weave,

A Mayan huipil is what I’ll achieve.

Ancestral knowledge has been passed down

Of the seven sacred symbols for every town.

I design,

I spin and dye,

I create our traditional cloth.
At a conference of mathematicians,

To common people we might seem like magicians.

Our data is carved on stelae of stone,

And the concept of zero is the Mayans’ alone.
We theorize,

We summarize,

We order the universe.

We all know ‘cause we’ve been told

The Inca Empire was rich with gold.

They had a wealth of science knowledge too,

And expertise in math it’s true!
Awesome – awesome

Inca – Inca

Awesome Inca scientists!
The stones in their cities’ massive walls

Could have twenty precision-cut angles in all.

Their structure is an engineering feat,

And for earthquake resistance they are hard to beat.
Awesome – awesome

Inca – Inca

Awesome Inca scientists!
Problems were solved with a calculating box,

Which marked place value by moving rocks.

To document taxes and planting dates,

Knots on a quipu kept records straight.
Awesome – awesome

Inca – Inca

Awesome Inca scientists!
Inca doctors performed skull surgery

With obsidian knives and herbal remedies.

European survival with this experiment

Was much less than the Inca rate of fifty per cent.
Awesome – awesome

Inca – Inca

Awesome Inca scientists!


Agronomists here,

Herbalists there,

Ancient plant scientists everywhere!
Incan surgeons anesthetizing incisions,

Mayan textile weavers dying cloth,

Aztec farmers engineering chinampas,

All ancient Americans domesticating crops.
Agronomists here,

Herbalists there,

Ancient plant scientists everywhere!
Maguey fibers twisted into rope,

Abate bark beaten for paper,

Cacao seeds ground for chocolate,

And corn and potatoes stored as staples.
Agronomists here,

Herbalists there,

Ancient plant scientists everywhere!

Scientists! Scientists! Scientists!

Moon? No problem! M-o-o-n.

Date? No problem! D-a-t-e.

Year? No problem! Y-e-a-r.

But we just can’t handle indigenous.
Grow? No problem! G-r-o-w.

Crop? No problem! C-r-o-p.

Heal? No problem! H-e-a-l.

But we just can’t handle indigenous.
Plan? No problem! P-l-a-n.

Math? No problem! M-a-t-h.

Wall? No problem! W-a-l-l.

But we just can’t handle indigenous.
Hey get real! No big deal!

I-n-d, i-g-e, n-o-u-s, INDIGENOUS!

This week we are learning about the ancient Aztec, Inca and Maya civilizations. Much of what we know about them has been learned through archaelogy, studying the objects and buildings left by the people.
Imagine that an archaeologist 1000 years in the future is studying the objects in your home. Sketch and write about:

  • an object that would give clues to what kind of work the adults in your family do

  • an object that would give clues about a food your family eats frequently

  • an object that would give clues about your family’s important beliefs or traditions

Today we learned about Mayan weaving technology that has been passed down through families for centuries.
Ask someone in your family about something they learned

(a craft, recipe, hobby, job skill) from an older family member that has been passed down traditionally in your family. Write and draw about it below.

Today we learned about ancient Americans’ agricultural systems and some of the crops they raised. Interview a family member or neighbor about a plant they know how to grow. Fill in the information below.
Person interviewed __________________________________
Name of plant ______________________________________
Why they like to raise this plant ________________________

Information on raising the plant

Picture of the plant


Esta semana estamos estudiando las civilizaciones antiguas de los Aztecas, los Incas y los Mayas. Mucho de la información que tenemos sobre ellos ha sido entendido por modo de la arqueología, estudiando los edificios y objetos dejados por el pueblo.
Imagínate que un arqueólogo 1000 años en el futuro está estudiando los objetos en tu casa. Dibuja y escribe sobre:

  • un objeto que daría pistas del tipo de trabajo que hacen los adultos de tu familia

  • un objeto que daría pistas de una comida que tu familia come a menudo

  • un objeto que daría pistas sobre las creencias o tradiciones importantes en tu familia


Hoy aprendimos sobre la tecnología de tejer de los Mayas, que se ha pasado de generación a generación durante muchos siglos.
Pide información de alguien en tu familia sobre algo tradicional (una artesanía, receta, destreza de trabajo, o pasatiempo) que aprendió de una persona mayor en la familia. Escribe y dibuja sobre esto abajo.


Hoy aprendimos sobre los sistemas de agricultura de los indígenas Americanos, y sobre algunos de sus cultivos. Haz una entrevista con un miembro de familia o con un vecino sobre una planta que el o ella sabe cultivar. Llena la información abajo.
Persona que entrevistaste _____________________________
Nombre de la planta _________________________________
¿Por qué le gusta cultivar esta planta? _________________________________________________

Información sobre cómo cultivar la planta _________________________________________________
Dibujo de la planta



It is estimated that the Incas produced as much as 220 tons of gold a year! Most of it was taken from streams by panning, but some was mined from the earth. In order to extract the gold from mineral ore, the fire in smelting furnaces was raised to extremely high temperatures by blowing air on it through cane pipes.
Most gold was used to make jewelry, statues, and other decorations for royalty. Some gold work was done by hammering thin sheets of it around forms, but many craftsmen used the lost wax process. This involved making a very detailed figure of wax and covering it with clay, then heating it and pouring off the melted wax. The clay mold that was left was then filled with molten gold, and the clay removed after the golden form had cooled and hardened.

We know from examination of Inca human remains that their doctors knew how to amputate limbs and perform skull surgery. They used knives made from volcanic rock called obsidian, because it has extremely sharp, thin edges. Drilling a hole in the skull, called trepanation, was usually performed to relieve pressure on the brain from head injuries received during battle with other nations. Patients were anesthetized for surgery with fermented corn beer or drugs from the coca plant.
Examination of Inca remains also reveals that many people survived these surgeries, because of evidence that the surgical wounds had healed and skull bones had grown closed.

The Maya had a process for taking the latex, or sap, from jungle trees, and turning it into useful products. They would cut a v-shape into the bark and allow the latex to drain into a container attached to the tree’s trunk.
One useful tree was the cahuchu. Its latex was dried and burned as incense, or shaped into rubber objects. The Maya were probably the first people to make rubber boots, and they also made 6-pound rubber balls to play pok-a-tok.
Another useful tree was the sapodilla. The Maya boiled the sap to make chewing gum. Its fruit, the zapote, was sweet and high in Vitamin C, and its wood was good for building, because it was resistant to ants.


For easier travel through the uneven terrain of the dense forest, the Mayas built a system of raised roadways. The main roads between major cities were fifteen feet wide, and often fifteen feet above the ground, constructed of stone walls filled in with limestone and gravel. The gravel surfaces were smoothed by a giant stone roller pushed by 15 men, and then were coated with lime plaster. They were called sacbes, or “white roads”, because of the color of the plaster.
Every five miles or so, smaller roads would lead off the major one. Glyphs carved on stone markers indicated directions to the locations off the main road, and also the dates of construction.

Name of Technology


How it improved life

Interesting facts




Learning Log

Aztec Inca




Ancient American Technology: Aztec, Inca, Maya (OR)

Laura Curry and Laura Mannen-Martinez- Project G.L.A.D. (Rev. 02/06 FAR/JB)
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