• Olmec Seated Figure, c. 900-300 BC. Jade; 4-5/16 x 2-7/16 x 1-1/2 in. J.H. Wade Fund (purchase) 1941.390.

Aztec, Maya, and More!

Grade Level: 
Student Level: 

This lesson introduces the arts, myths, and writing systems of selected Mesoamerican cultures. Ceramic figures and objects made from cast gold, carved limestone, and jade are used to glimpse life among the Aztec, Maya, and Olmec peoples in centuries before European contact.

Program Format: 
  • Discuss map of Mesoamerica.
  • Introduce Olmec culture, their materials, and technical processes.
  • Introduce Maya culture, sacred ballgame, artifacts, and glyphs.
  • Introduce Aztec culture, including their use of calendar systems and religious beliefs.
  • Discuss European contact, and its effect on Ancient American civilizations.
  • Students will be able to compare ancient Mesoamericans, including the Olmec, Maya and Aztec civilizations.
  • Through artifacts in the CMA's collection, students will be introduced to aspects of the daily life and rituals of ancient Mesoamerican cultures.
  • Students will learn how to decipher an ancient Mayan glyph during an in-lesson activity.