• Search
  • My Storyboards

Activity Overview

Starting a unit or lesson with the key vocabulary that students will see in their readings or presentations aids in overall comprehension and retention. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary related to the Maya.

Students will preview the terms and definitions and use whole class or small group discussion to demonstrate their understanding of each meaning. When students define and illustrate each term, they master the application of it and retain it as part of their lexicon.

Maya Civilization Vocabulary

Ahau or Ahaw: Ruler or king of a Maya city-state.

Cacao: Seeds that come from a small tropical American evergreen tree and can be used to make cocoa, cocoa butter, and chocolate. The Maya considered it to be "food of the gods" and it was an integral part of their religious and every day lives.

Chichen Itza: The most powerful city-state during the start of the post-classic period (900-1500). Many important and awe inspiring sites remain such as the Temple of Kukulcan, a massive step pyramid. Chichen Itza is a popular tourist attraction today.

Codex: A type of book written by the Maya that was created by one long sheet of paper that was folded like an accordion. Tragically, most were destroyed by the Spanish.

Hero Twins: A major story in Maya mythology, the Hero Twins were believed to be the Sun and the Moon and their descendants the ruler of Earth.

Kukulcan: A feathered serpent that is one of the primary gods of the Maya. Known as Quetzalcoatl to the Aztec.

Obsidian: A hard volcanic rock used to make tools and sculptures.

Popol Vuh: A Maya codex that described their religion and mythology.

Quetzal: A type of jungle bird with feathers that the Maya used in their feathered clothing and headdresses.

Stele: A tall monumental sculpture made from stone with relief carvings.

Yucatan Peninsula: An area in southeastern Mexico where some of the Maya civilization developed.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a storyboard defining and illustrating key vocabulary related to the Maya civilization.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title boxes, identify the key terms you have chosen.
  3. In the description boxes, write the definition of the term.
  4. Create an illustration for each term using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.

Requirements: Must have 3 terms, correct definitions, and appropriate illustrations for each that demonstrate your understanding of the words.

Lesson Plan Reference

Switch to: Common CoreArizonaCaliforniaColoradoFloridaGeorgiaIowaKansasMarylandMassachusettsNebraskaNew JerseyNew YorkNorth CarolinaOhioOklahomaPennsylvaniaUtah


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Define and illustrate each of the key terms.
7 Points
4 Points
1 Points
The vocabulary words are correctly defined.
The meaning of the vocabulary words can be understood but it is somewhat unclear.
The vocabulary word is not clearly defined
The storyboard illustrations clearly depict the meaning of the vocabulary words.
The illustrations relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words but it they are difficult to understand.
The illustrations do not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

How To Help Students Discuss Mayan Vocabulary


Investigate Historical Significance

Start by giving pupils a general introduction to Mayan culture. Describe the historical period, geographic region, and key cultural components. Students will have a better understanding of the vocabulary's use by using this context.


Analyze Modern Day Usage

Ask the students to analyze the modern day usage of the old Mayan Vocabulary. Ask them if there are some vocabulary words that are still used today. Students can also correlate the geographical location with the vocabulary usage. For instance, is there is specific part of the modern civilization where the Mayan Vocabulary is used more than other geographical parts?


Discuss Changes and Evolution

Help the students discuss how vocabulary changes over time and plays a significant part in evolution. Students can make a list of the words which might have the same spellings or meaning as before but are now used in a different context. Ask the students to analyze the change in the Mayan language over time.


Discuss the Impact of Cultural Practices on Vocabulary

Another additional point that students can focus on is the impact of cultural practices on the Mayan vocabulary. The Maya people were famous for creating an educational system and teaching knowledge. Students can keep this interconnectedness in mind while performing the research.


Provide Guidance for Additional Research

Discuss publications, articles, and websites that go further into Mayan vocabulary and linguistics. Encourage the students who are particularly interested to do individual research. Students can also organize discussions with experts in the Maya Civilization and culture.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mayan Civilization Vocabulary

What was the Maya's native tongue, and how does it vary from contemporary languages?

The Maya spoke a variety of Mayan languages. These languages have their own distinctive grammar and vocabulary and are separate from current languages. Students can reflect on the different dialects and many forms of the Mayan languages spoken throughout the Mayan civilization. Teachers can also encourage the students to make a map of languages to indicate the distinct vocabulary and dialects spoken through different regions.

What terminology did the Mayans use to describe their social and political system?

Language used in Maya to describe the social and political system includes words for kings, nobles, commoners, city-states, and managerial positions in the society. The Mayas had a very strict form of social hierarchy which can be frequently found in their vocabulary and scriptures.

What were some of the mathematical phrases used by the Mayans?

There are words for numbers, arithmetic processes, and measuring units in Mayan. They developed a complex system of counting that encompassed ideas like zero. The Mayan people were adept at mathematics and astronomy and even had their own calendars to follow.

*(This Will Start a 2-Week Free Trial - No Credit Card Needed)
© 2024 - Clever Prototypes, LLC - All rights reserved.
StoryboardThat is a trademark of Clever Prototypes, LLC, and Registered in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office