Students work in groups to create a newspaper of multiple different articles about the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incans. For example, a Mayan newspaper might advertise chocolate, an Aztec newspaper may contain an article about Hernan Cortes taking over the Aztec Empire, or an Incan newspaper might contain an obituary for a person who died in an earthquake. This product contains 3 pages: 1) types of articles, 2) example ideas for each type of article for a Mayan, Aztec, and Incan newspaper, & 3) presentation notes.
In this group project, students create a newspaper of numerous different articles, based on the culture and history of the Mesoamerica cultures, the Maya, the Aztec, and the Inca.
Teacher introduces the project by dividing up the class into groups, assigning the "Maya" to a third of the teams, the "Axtec" to a third of the teams, and the "Inca" to a third of the teams.
Students begin by choosing article types (page one) and topics (ideas for Maya, Aztec, and Inca are provided on page 2). Students then create their articles on paper or on computer (PowerPoint slides or Publisher newsletter, advertisements, etc.), including headlines, informative text, and a picture(s).
Once students have assembled their team newspaper (on large butcher paper or on a PowerPoint presentation, for example), they present their magazine to the class, as their classmates take notes (on page 3 of PDF or separate sheet for more detail).
I have used this in my 7th grade classes and it has been highly engaging. It's a great way to combine Language Arts and World History. Enjoy!
History Social-Science Standards for California addressed:
7.7 Students compare and contrast the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of the Meso-American and Andean civilizations.
1. Study the locations, landforms, and climates of Mexico, Central America, and South America and their effects on Mayan, Aztec, and Incan economies, trade, and development of urban societies.
2. Study the roles of people in each society, including class structures, family life, warfare, religious beliefs and practices, and slavery.
3. Explain how and where each empire arose and how the Aztec and Incan empires were defeated by the Spanish.
4. Describe the artistic and oral traditions and architecture in the three civilizations.
5. Describe the Meso-American achievements in astronomy and mathematics, including the development of the calendar and the Meso-American knowledge of seasonal changes to the civilizations’ agricultural systems.