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 Inca.

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.

Example Inca Vocabulary

Cacao: Seeds that can be used to make cocoa, cocoa butter, and chocolate.

Coya: Queen of the Inca Empire and wife of the Sapa Inca, the emperor.

Cuzco: The capital of the Inca Empire and still a major city in Peru today.

Huaca: A sacred object that the Inca believed was inhabited by a spirit. It could be a man-made object such as a statue or amulet, or natural such as stones or mountains.

Inti: The primary god of the Inca, it was the god of the sun. Rulers were thought to be descendants of Inti.

Intihuatana: A ritual stone that was associated with the Inca calendar and the sun.

Manco Capac: Considered the first "Sapa Inca" or emperor, Manco Capac is credited with founding the kingdom of Cuzco.

Machu Picchu: Called "lost city of the Inca" by some. Machu Picchu is an Inca city high in the mountains built around 1450 that was not destroyed by the Spanish during their conquest. It was re-discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and is a popular tourist destination.

Pachacuti: An Inca emperor (1438-1472), Machu Picchu is said to have been built for Pachacuti.

Peru: The modern-day South American country where the center of the Inca Empire were located, including the city of Cuzco.

Pizarro: Francisco Pizarro was the Spanish conquistador who conquered the Inca Empire in 1532.

Quechua: The language of the Inca. It is still spoken today.

Quipu:The Inca did not have a written language, but they kept a system of records called Quipu which used knotted string to record events and transactions.

Sapa Inca: The emperor of the Inca Empire.

Tawantinsuyu: The Inca name for their empire in the language Quechua, it means "Land of Four Quarters".

Viracocha: Father of the sun god Inti, Viracocha was another primary god considered the creator of Earth and the Inca people.

Willaq Umu: The high priest of the Inca and advisor to the Sapa Inca who was also usually the brother of the Sapa Inca.

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 Inca 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

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/3] Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/4] Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/6] Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression


(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.

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