MR. J. TURNER
SOCIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT
GHPPA: SOCIAL PROBLEM
THERE WERE MAJOR DIFFICULTIES FACING “MESOAMERICANS” IN ADAPTING TO THEIR PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT;
The Mesoamerica societies were settled by people migrating from the land bridge that connected Siberia across the Bering Straits to Alaska. The earliest known people to settle in the America were the Olmecs. They settled in Guatemala, Belize on the Caribbean coast. They eventually learned Neolithic techniques and became a modest farming society. Little is known about their society except that statutes indicate they worshipped nature Gods. However, this early society was followed by the Mayans in the same regions of Mesoamerica.
Early Mayans developed a farming society that adapted to their environment in the rain forests of Guatemala. The planting consisted of their most important crop, maize or corn. They also cultivated beans, squash, peppers, avocados and papayas in this hot, tropical climate. The classical Maya society flourished from 300- 600 AD.
How were the Mayas so successful at farming in their environment? They developed a system of clearing the dense rain forests (slash and burn) and then built raised fields that caught and held rainwater. Accompanying the raised fields, were channels that could be opened to drain excess water. This allowed for further crop expansion to meet the needs of the population growth in the cities.
Who could protect these crops and farmers from the elements of the environment? The religion that surfaced was of nature Gods like the God of the Sun. The Mayans sculpted figurines of these Gods that are found to resemble the Gods of the Olmecs. http://mysteriousplaces.com/mayan/TourEntrance.html
The Mayas had build high temples stairs to conduct ceremonies that included human sacrifice to keep the crops plentiful. Why did the Mayans build such a pyramid like structure? http://www.historylink 101.com/mayan/ancient
The Aztecs were a later society rooted in the Valley of Mexico. They established a major city in Tenochtitlan on a swampy island in Lake Texcoco from about 1325-1340 AD. The Aztecs relied on tribute including food from conquered peoples. Agriculture, however, was the basis of Aztec society and maize was the main source of the Aztec diet. They were able to cultivate around the Lake Texcoco a unique system of irrigation agriculture by building Chinampas that formed artificial floating islands. On these floating gardens, they raised squash, corn and beans. They also gradually filled in parts of the lake and created canals to transport goods to and from the capital City.
The Aztecs, too, built great temples to honor the nature Gods and believed that the Sun God, Huitzilopochtli, had to battle forces of darkness each night and then was reborn each morning. Why did the Aztecs perform human sacrifices conducted by the priests at the temples for all to see?
www.amigo.Mexican art and culture
Much farther to the South, in the area of Peru, the Incas built an empire, which was conquered by 1475 AD. The Incas settled in Peru however, about 1075. at the same period of time that the Aztecs conquered most of Mexico. The Incas had need of a farming system that adapted to their environment. The Incas were originally fishermen that learned some farming and moved inland. They began to use the steep slopes of the Andes To gain additional farmland, the Incas used additional farmland and developed walls to hold terraces for growing crops. All land of the Inca farm belonged to the community. Farmers grew crops in different fields. (i.e. a filed for the sun God, used for priests, a field used for the state, a filed of the sick orphans, widows and those away on government service in the sprawling empire of the western shores of South America or a filed assigned tot he needs of the individual families.
www.phschool.com link to Macchu Picchu,Peru
The terraced farms of course, deserved the support of the Gods and high temples were also built to honor the many Gods that were nature gods, like all the Mesoamerican societies. The architecture of the Incas temples was similar to the Aztecs.
You are going to report on the experimental ways that these populations are trying to improve their agricultural needs for the growing populations of each society of Mesoamerica. As part of that effort, there needs to be a presentation that must include a role for each member of the group. One member will write a 2 to 3 page report that will describe the unique farming methods to be used by that society. Another will present some pictures or illustrations with captions describing the pictures. Another role involves a cartoon about the cultural achievements of the agricultural society. The cartoon is meant to be a snapshot of their society that relates to better crop output including farming methods, religious support and even the temples (architecture) needed to honor and appease the Gods that will help your crops.
1: In groups of three that represent one of each of the different Mesoamerican civilizations (Mayas, Aztecs, or Incas) you will be trying to persuade the ruler that basic farming can be improved by better farming methods, support from the nature Gods so as to allow for more crops and any temples constructed to appease the Gods.
2: You will use the resources given below and your text material to complete the six step GLOBAL PUBLIC POLCIY ANANLYST
3: Your group will present the report, the pictures with captions and a cartoon together on a poster board or display board. This project should show your research and exemplify persuasiveness.
Use the following steps to help you complete your task: Show each of the following on your project
1- Define and describe the problem (How do you improve farming methods?)
2- Gather the evidence for this problem (use internet documents)
3- Identify cause of the problem (growing population)
4- Describe existing farming policy (reflected in religion based on nature gods
Develop solutions and/or policies to improve crop output (Why did religion become more complex, sacrifices more frequent or temples constructed higher to the sky?
5: Do a comparative analysis with another early Mesoamerican society regarding adaptation to the environment.
YOU WILL USE THE LINKS BELOW TO ACCESS THE WORKSHEETS. READ THE GHPPA PAGE AND COMPLETE THE WORKSHEETS AT THE BOTTOM OF EAH WEB PAGE.
Step 1) Use worksheet #1 to identify the problem.
Step 2) Use worksheet #2 to gather the evidence.
Step 3) Use worksheet #3 to determine the causes of your problem.
Step 4) Use worksheet #4 to evaluate the public the policies of each society towards agricultural needs.
Step 5) Use worksheet #5
to do a comparative analysis of another policy in
The information on these worksheets will be the resource you use to complete your poster and presentation. Your poster and presentation must include information about ALL the steps above.
Further Questions that should be addressed:
How were the needs of farming reflected in religion, art and architecture?
How were the religions similar or dissimilar?
How was the architecture an extension of the need for crops and food for the society?
How were religious practices changed to improve farming output?
Can the society undergo a transformation without human sacrifices?
1- Research websites
2- Quote specific and relevant sections
SPECIFIC WEB SITES
You should have learned how society addressed the difficulties in producing enough food to meet the needs of the growing population of this early Mesoamerican society. Our next web quest will investigate imperialism, which resulted from the European domination and colonization of these societies.
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.
Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the geography of the interdependent world in which we live, local, national and global-including the distribution of people, places, and environments over the Earth’s surface.