Aztec-Inca “Mini Debates”
I always love to have kids take part in a “mini-debate” between the Aztec and Inca civilizations. It’s a great opportunity move beyond human sacrifice (mostly) and get kids thinking about the achievements of each civilization.
- Here is a collection of various documents I give my students to begin their research into the Aztec and Inca civilizations. I divide my class into three groups – one Aztec group, one Inca group, and one small group of debate judges. (There should be 1/2 the number of judges as there are members of each of the other groups – so in a class of 30: 12 Aztecs/12 Inca/6 judges.)
- Have students use this worksheet as they go through the research/debate/debrief process.
- After they research their side, they divide into debate pairs. The judges group should have been looking at the documents from both sides and developing questions for the teams to respond to. These are what I call “Mini Debates”: you end up with multiple independent debates going on between 2 Aztecs vs. 2 Inca with 1 student judging and moderating the debate. This way, more kids are talking than just one student at a time in a traditional class debate!
- After the debates are over, each judge presents their “ruling” as to who won the debate and summarizes the strongest arguments he/she heard from each side.
- I end this activity with writing practice in which students have to now justify the opposite side of the debate in a short writing activity (on the worksheet provided).
Historiography Extension Activity: Myths of the Conquest of Mexico (CCOT)
This is a PowerPoint I created to summarize the research I completed during graduate school. It is some background information and a collection of documents for students to understand historiography or, the study of how history is created. The key takeaway is that our understanding of the conquest of native peoples has changed drastically over time (this is a great Change and Continuity Over Time activity for my AP teachers!). We can see this clearly by analyzing historical writing about the Aztec Emperor Montezuma over time.