The Aztecs

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This lesson has been planned to give your students opportunities to think through the information presented to them and transform those thoughts into verbal and written discussions. As is, this lesson plan does not focus on learning vocabulary or facts. You can easily add a vocabulary page to the lesson and some quizzes about the information presented.

This is the story I was told in school that got me interested in the Aztecs.

The Aztecs would choose a young handsome man to dress up and represent Huitzilopochtli
one of their most important gods. The young man would get to be the god for a whole year and with that position came great advantages. He was treated like a god- dressed and fed and attended to. He could speak to any woman that he wanted even ones that were married and their husbands had to accept it. So the man plays a god for one year, being worshiped and admired and on the last day of that year he gets sacrificed to Huitzilopochtli.

The Aztecs Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about The Aztecs
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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Description

The lesson presents information about the ancient race of the Aztecs. Basic information about the Aztecs is provided, such as the location and time period in which they lived, their social classes, education systems, and laws. A larger section is devoted to information about the Aztec religion and gods, which prepares the students to complete a writing assignment connected to the lesson. The lesson emphasizes creative writing rather than vocabulary and facts so it does not include a quiz. The lesson can be used in conjunction with other lessons about ancient civilizations.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction:  

  1. Begin the lesson with a discussion about time and how long ago the Aztecs lived. Reference how distant 500-900 years ago is by using points of reference like the internet is only 25 years mainstream, cars are only a bit over 100years old and so on.
  2. Tell an interesting, attention grabbing about the Aztecs- There is one I like in the teacher’s notes.
  3. Ask the class why do they think we study the Aztecs? After a discussion, you can point out to them that we are learning about a culture that was very different from the ones we know, the “western cultures.” We can see with this society that we can relate to a culture even one that is so different from ours.
  4. Hand out the discussion pages.
  5. As a class, read the first sections and about the society in general.
  6. Break the kids up into small groups and have each group learn about a specific topic in every day Aztec life- medicine, inventions, buildings, war, food etc. Give the groups ten or more minutes to become experts in their topics. Then have each group present to the class.
  7. Pass out the homework assignment.
  8. Talk about the specific Aztec laws- there are a few printed on the study pages. Ask the students what they think of the laws- are they reasonable? Could you follow them? Does the punishment fit the crime?
  9. Have each student share their homework fact with the rest of the class. When everyone has shared put all the pages up on the Aztec display wall. .
  10. Begin lesson on the Aztec gods by reading the story on the handout. Come up with a couple other stories you could tell them about gods to keep them interested.

Common Core State Standards:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.5.10, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.1

Class Sessions (45 minutes): 3-4 class sessions

Additional Resources: 

Many more teaching resources in Download!

Want more social studies resources? Check out our other Social Studies Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

Subject

Social Studies