Saturday, September 29, 2007


With our KONOS online co-op group, we've been studying the Aztecs this week. Although KONOS usually has lots of projects, we didn't get any of them done this week. But, we had a lot of fun learning about the Aztecs and were sad to see how Cortez conquered them.

We started at this site. We printed off their worksheets and went through all of the sections. They had great information about the Aztec gods & goddesses, their mythology, their temples, everyday life, etc. And, they have some great coloring pages! They also have a link for you to calculate dates in Aztec heiroglyphs, some neat activities about their calendar and what the different parts mean, and a part about the history of chocolate! (again, it's at

We also used this Scholastic site to print off a calendar and 2 maps (with & without labels) to work on more geography of the region with our cork boards and push pins.

Another day, we used a Core Knowledge unit to talk about Columbus, Cortez (conquerer of the Aztecs) and Pizarro (conquerer of the Incas). I loved how it tied these 3 men together - how one man's experience led to another. And, at the end, it had a review where it compared and contrasted them.

I also used this idea from CK. I pretended I was a conquistador and placed my flag in Alexandra's territory and "claimed" it as my own. Then, I went and gathered all of her riches and said they were mine. I thought it really drove home the point of how the Spaniards had no right to take the land & treasures that didn't belong to them (not to mention the people!), but they thought it was OK.

CK also had this quote from Cortez: "We suffer from a disease that only gold can cure." And, they contrasted it with this quote from the Bible: "Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has." Luke 12:15. We talked about whether Cortez was following Jesus command. (Nope!)

Before listing some other resources, I just wanted to mention some thoughts I had while doing this study.

First of all, I was disgusted with the human sacrifices - and just the sheer amount of it! How disgusting that they would believe their god wanted them to do this. And, at the same time, how dedicated they were to their gods!

Then, I started thinking how God in the Old Testament wanted blood sacrifices, though not human!!! Blood had to be shed for forgiveness. But, in the end, God did require a human sacrifice - His own Son!


  • The Encylopedia of the Ancient Americas by Green, MacDonald, Stelle & Stotter - I picked this book about at Half Price Books and it has good information, photos, and projects
  • The Aztecs (a History Beneath Your Feet book) by Peter Chrisp - another book with good info, photos, and projects
  • The Aztecs (A True Book) by Santella - we always enjoy this series
  • The Crafts & Cultures of the Aztecs by Jovinelly & Netelkos - more info, photos & projects
  • Aztecs, Inca & Maya (DK Eyewitness Book)
  • Hernan Cortez: Conquistador and Explorer by Molzahn - this was the main book we used for Cortez
  • You Wouldn't Want to be an Aztec Sacrifice: Gruesome Things You'd Rather Not Know by MacDonald - this was Alexandra's favorite book, though I wouldn't recommend it for everyone! It does get pretty gruesome!


Robin said...

GB was very disturbed by Cortez and Pizzaro during our study, also. It really is sad that so much of the history and treasures of the era were destroyed or stolen in the greedy pursuit of wealth and power!

Melissa Telling said...

When we studied the Aztecs last year, we also made the connection between the OT blood sacrifices and the human sacrifices. It makes sense that the descendents of Noah would carry their knowledge of God and the history of their people with them when they spread out into the world. (There are flood stories in many cultures around the world- some greatly distorted, but still recognizable.)They would have continued the blood sacrifices after the dispersion because they had been taught this was what God required. However, as their hearts became polluted and their knowledge and understanding of God was polluted, their sacrifices became polluted too. It is very sad to "witness" their great devotion, and know the futility of it.

It is to our shame to realize there are people just like this who are alive today, who yearn to know the "unknown God" whose presence they can't escape. And we are too busy "aquiring gold" when we ought to be sharing the real treasure He has revealed to us.

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