An ancient Mayan visits Year 5

On Friday, Year 5 had a visitor from ancient Mayan times, called Big Nose, to tell us about what life was like in those times, including: their beliefs; how they invented maths; the foods they ate from the rainforest; and lots more.

After a learning the Mayan numbers to 10 (complete with a competition of boys against girls, including a teacher round with help from good listeners), we sacrificed 5 children in different Mayan ways to please the gods. This included: decapitation, heart extraction, drowning, buried alive and shot by arrows.

Some children got to dress in Mayan clothes, and to find the most important person for a feathered headdress, we had to find out who could cross their eyes the best – since this was a sign of importance and beauty.

Next, we tried Mayan foods. However, we learned that many of the foods we eat nowadays made up a lot of the Mayan diet, such as avocados, peppers, corn (maize), beans and butternut squash. As well as their greatest export: chocolate. However, it was not chocolate we are used to – no milk. It was 85% cocoa. There were not many fans of the almost pure chocolate bar. 6 lucky (or unlucky) individuals got to try 100% pure cocoa beans – they were not fans either. The teachers also got to try some, but did not get that ‘chocolate fix’ from milk chocolate. It was described as bitter, salty and textured like nuts or sawdust.

After play and lunch, the year group was split to take part in drama sessions. They were split into a further 6 groups, then the children were given different situations to dramatise and deliver to the other groups. Each person needed to have an active role in the performance, no matter how quiet they were. We were told to be as funny and cheesy as possible to deliver the information to the rest of the groups, as we learn more when it’s fun.

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To end our day, we took part in another drama session, this time including the teachers, to learn about the Mayan creation story. The teachers played the parts of the gods (Kuklukan and Hurrucan), where we played the different animals, trees and people that were created by the gods.

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