Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Aztecs (The Mexica)

Lesson 74 of Volume II of The Mystery of History is all about "The Aztecs (The Mexica)."  We will learn about this culture more extensively when we study Mexico later this year in our Geography curriculum, but this lesson provided us with a good introduction to it.  We also briefly learned about the Mayans in Lesson 16 of this book (which I posted about at  Though these two people groups lived centuries apart (the Maya from 300 B.C. to A.D. 900 and the Aztecs from A.D. 1200 to A.D. 1520), they had very many similarities.
For further reading beyond our text, we read about "The Aztec Empire" on pages 278-279 of The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History.
We love this book!
 On page 279, the Aztec warrior costume with the jaguar skin accessorized with quetzal feathers ...
... reminded us of the Mayan warrior costume with the same elements!  (This picture is from page 181 of the same book.)
In our aforementioned post about the Mayans, we colored a picture of Quetzalcoatl, one of the gods of both of these peoples (printed from page 19 of Hands-On Heritage: Mexico Activity Book by Mary Jo Keller).
Next, we read more about these people on pages 68-71 of National Geographic's Wonders of the Ancient World.
(These pictures are from that article.)
We then read about "Early Mexico" on page 8 of Hands-On Heritage: Mexico Activity Book by Mary Jo Keller ...
 ... and the "Ancient Aztec World" on pages 84-87 of Evan-Moor's History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations book.
It was interesting to learn about the origin of the flag of Mexico.  In the center of the flag is the Mexican coat of arms, featuring an eagle perched on a cactus with a snake in its beak.  There is an interesting legend behind this image.  According to legend, "the Aztec sun god told the ancient wandering Aztecs to end their nomadic lifestyle.  They would find the location for their city when they saw an eagle eating a snake and sitting on a cactus bearing red, heart-shaped fruit.  The Aztecs wandered for more than 150 years looking for the sign.  They finally found the place their god had told them to settle.  It was an island in swampy Lake Texcoco.  They built the magnificent city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City," the country's capital (Hands-On Heritage, page 6).
We also read about Aztec writing.

After our reading, we completed page 12 of Usborne's Sticker Dressing: Long Ago sticker book, entitled, "The Aztecs."
Looks great, Mags!
We referred back to the Evan-Moor book to learn more about "An Aztec Calendar" (pages 90-92) and to create "A Feather Fan" (page 93), which Aztec nobles would use to cool themselves.  To make ours, we used cardstock in the colors of the quetzal (yellow, green, and red) to cut feathers.  
Glued onto a paper dessert plate along with real feathers of the same colors, we constructed our Aztec fan.  It turned out looking great!
Finally, we looked through Usborne's Mexican Patterns to Color book, at all the beautiful designs attributed to the Mexican people.  (We will work out of this book more when we study Mexico in Geography.)

¡Te veo pronto!

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