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

Mayans and Toltecs (500-1500) and Base 20 Math


The Maya people lived in small kingdoms in the rainforests and plains of Central America. Their temples were pyramids and they played a fast-moving ball game. They had a very accurate 365 day calendar.

Around 1160 fierce tribes began invading, scattering both the Toltecs and the Mayas.
Around 850m most of the Maya had moved north into the area known as the Yucatan. Meanwhile, in Mexico the Toltecs became powerful. In the 1100's invadig tribes drove the Toltecs out of Mexican and into the Yucatan, where it seems as if they worked together peacefully.


Remember the fun we had with base 6 math? The Mayan's math system was a base 20 system.

So, I got out the counters and we decided to have some fun with Mayan Math.

First we made up a name for the numbers from 10- 20, because it was easier to understand the place value if we used differnt names for the digits that we have in our base 10 that would not also be in base 20. So, our ten became bleep...11 became cheep...12 became seep and so on to 20.
 Then we went through the same games as we had gone through with our base 6 math.
It was confusing and fun and we laughed and got frustrated. I was so busy I forgot to take photos. 
We looked again for patterns.
We tried adding and subtracting using base 20. I was hard but fun.
Place value is beginning to take on new meaning.

 In 1542 the Mayans surrendered to Francisco de Montejo.

More Activities
Another great Mayan activity to do is this Jade Mask at Academia Celestia.
Makita has a lot of great links there, too.
You could also make Mayan worry dolls from the tutorial at Child in Harmony which are still made in Guatemala.


 

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