Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales
painting by Katie Bergenholtz

Incans (1100-1500) and Quipus

We are studying the Incans this week. The Incans lived in a small mountain kingdom around the city of Cuzco but in 1438 their ruler, Pachacuti began conquering the peoples of the area, creating an empire that stretched along most of the Pacific Coast. Even though they did not have wheels or metal tools they built an amazing cities from stone. The Incan Empire was very organized and everyone had a specific task to do. To make sure the Empire ran smoothly, officials kept records on knotted cords called quipus. We decided to play a game with tying knots that I saw on Love 2 Learn 2day, but we did it slightly differently. 

A couple of my sons are having some problems with the fact that you read a number from left-to-right, but do computations from right-to-left. I have to vary the ways I present place value to keep interest and to have a new way of seeing a concept. I thought I would make a model of a quipus and use that as a new way of looking at place value. For this activity we used a thin dowel (a wooden skewer) and some multi-colored yarn.  My youngest rolled a six-sided die and I would  tie that amount of knots in the yarn at that colored section, and then continue down to the next section. We then made a sheet with matching colors to represent the different place values. The top section (yellow) was the thousands place, the next section (green) was the hundreds place, the next section (purple) was the tens place and lastly, the red section was the ones place. They then needed to figured out what numbers were represented on the yarn.
We then used some plastic tiles from Right Start math to turn the numbers into the direction we are used to seeing them.
They are nice because they have the zero place holders which you can cover up with other tiles to form the numbers.
This was a lot of manipulation of numbers and yet still keeping the concept of place value.

Then we got the idea of making one to use as a calendar. We debated for a time on whether to begin with the month, as we write the date or with the day because it was the smallest unit of measure. My husband was in favor of the day first as that is the way he uses it in computer programming. In the end, however, we decided on month first since we could use it for writing the date on school work.. We will be adding one each day to the days strand, and also to the months strand as each month passes.
Other projects can be found in this book-
We also colored maps of where the Incan Empire was and the conquistador who conquerored them.
A Pilgrim's Heart has wonderful notebook pages for the Aztecs, Incans and the Spanish Conquest.


Francico Pizarro
A Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.

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