World History: Journey Across Time
Web Activity Lesson Plans
Thousands of years ago, the first people arrived in the Americas. The Maya, Aztec, Inca, and many other Native American cultures flourished in North and South America. As you've learned in this chapter, these civilizations fell. You've discussed that some, like the Aztec and Inca, fell to Spanish invaders. Others, like the Maya, left little evidence to help us determine the cause of their decline. In this activity, students will learn the reasons why civilizations decline. They will work as archaeologists to uncover the reasons behind the collapse of Copán, a once-thriving center of the Maya civilization.
Students will visit the Annenberg/CPB feature titled "Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fall?" to discover more about the collapse of this ancient civilization.
Destination Title: "Collapse: Why Do Civilizations Fall?"
Students will learn about the collapse of Copán. They will act as archaeologists to determine the fall of this ancient center of civilization. They will answer four questions about what they've learned. They will apply this knowledge as they analyze U.S. society to determine whether the "six prerequisites for survival" exist.
- Students will demonstrate an understanding of archaeological techniques and analyses.
- Students will analyze U.S. society to determine whether the "six prerequisites for survival" exist.
Student Web Activity Answers
- The site is located in western Honduras. It was once a classic Maya royal center. It covered about 29 acres. The site was built on the banks of the Copán River on an artificial terrace.
- The people of the Copán Valley seemed to be suffering from anemia and malnutrition.
- Scientists found many obsidian blades in and around households in Copán. The dates of the blades helped scientists determine how populated the valley was.
- The six prerequisites for survival are as follows:
- In order to survive, a society must be able to "provide food, drink, shelter, and medical care" for its members.
- In order to survive, a society must "provide for the production and distribution of goods and services."
- In order to survive, a society must provide for the "reproduction of new members and consider laws and issues related to reproduction." This includes regulation, marriageable age, and number of children.
- In order to survive, a society must provide for the "training of an individual so that he or she can become a functioning adult in the society." This training could be in the form of education, apprenticeship, or passing on of values.
- In order to survive, a society must provide for the maintenance of internal and external order. This is achieved through laws, courts, police, wars, and diplomacy.
- In order to survive, a society must provide "meaning and motivation to its members."
- Answers will vary but should clearly list the six critical components for survival and examples for each within U.S. society.