Mayan News Report

posted Nov 28, 2010, 7:39 AM by John Lustig   [ updated Nov 28, 2010, 8:01 AM ]
Students will create a news report about a major event that occurred during the ancient Mayan civilization. 
  • Students will watch a streaming video and research events using the Internet. 
  • Students will use digital diagraming tools to prepare a storyboard, outline, or notes for creating their news report.
  • Students will use desktop publishing or create a podcast or vodcast to present their news report. 
Subject Area
Early Civilizations, World History, World Geography

Grade Level

Technology Integrated
Streaming video (
Desktop publishing (MS Word, Google Docs)
Podcast (GarageBand, Audacity)
Vodcast (Digital video camera, Flip video, Webcam, iMovie, Windows MovieMaker, FlipShare)
Digital diagraming tools (,

See lesson pdf attached below.

Whole class instruction: 
Explain to students that they will explore the ancient civilization of the Maya during the classical period, from A.D. 300 to A.D. 900. This time in Maya civilization was marked by the growth of city-states and by imperial wars between them. Provide students background about the Maya through video and whole class instruction about Mayan history, culture, and accomplishments. 
  1. Overview of timeline of Mayan History and advances 
    • Watch video on internet: Mayan Mystery –OR- Read supplied textbook or supplemental material about Ancient Maya 
  2. Overview of Mayan calendar and use of hieroglyphics 
    • Students will individually use their laptop computers to access the Internet and PBS-Nova interactive web site that challenges students to interpret Mayan hieroglyphics 
  3. Explain to students that their task will be to research and prepare a news story about major events of the Maya during this period. Events may include a great war planned for a special astronomical date or the capture of a rival king and his city-state. 
  4. Present unit menu to students and explain that they will choose the format for their news report. News reports may be in one of these forms:         
    • a magazine article, with sidebars providing background information; 
    • a major newspaper article or editorial; 
    • an audio podcast that simulates a radio news report which may include an interview of a witness; 
    • a video vodcast that simulates a television news report or show. 
  5. Inform students that although they are reporting on historical events, they should strive to give their news stories a present-day immediacy. 

Students will work in small groups of 2-3 people. Provide each group with a list of the classical period city-states, including, but not limited to, Tikal, Clakmul, Piedras Niegras, Caracol, Copa’n, and Uaxactun. 
  • Groups will randomly select a city-state for their news report, but it will be limited so that no more than two groups can report on any one city-state.
Students will use the Internet to research, gather information, and analyze the history of their selected city-state. Student groups will use this information to select an appropriate topic for their news story. 

Students will create a rough draft for their news story in the form of either a storyboard, concept-map, or outline. 
Students will define roles for each member of their group in the production of the final product. Roles include copywriter, editor, reporter, producer, camera operator, audio recorder, etc. 

Students will publish their news story for display or playback for sharing with entire class. 

Students will reflect on their learning by choosing to either participate in a group/class discussion or to write a reflective summary of their experience.
John Lustig,
Nov 28, 2010, 7:56 AM