General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 26 Feb 2021/3 Water
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Aztec (Mexica) Links of interest to Pupils and Teachers

Last checked/updated July 2020.

Time Travels Series 2: The Aztecs
Mexicolore takes part in this podcast for kids produced by Irish station RTÉjr Radio. It lasts 25 mins., and is a mix of: a young Aztec woman’s daily life in Tenochtitlan, kids asking us questions about the Aztecs generally, a demo of Aztec drums, and a piece about the Spanish invasion. NEW!

‘A Week to Beat the World’
This excellent BBC series features 3 UK youngsters spending a week in Guatemala training to take on a local team playing pitz (one of the Mayan names for the ancient rubber ballgame). It lacks historical depth and ignores ancient rules but gives a realistic and entertaining idea of ‘hipball’. It includes a fun mix of background ‘bits’, from ancestor worship to coffee picking, from using a tumpline to breaking piñatas, and the little known night-time version of the ballgame...

Life Under the Fifth Sun in Old Mexico
A professionally produced schools site from the USA, a resource from Open Ended Social Studies set up by educator Thomas Kenning. Full of good material, including lesson plans, activities, and a brilliant video ‘What Aztec Sounded Like’.

Tenochtitlan landscape map
Though produced in 2005, and the little text is in Spanish, this interactive resource still gives an excellent idea of how the landscape around the Mexica capital looked 500 years ago. By the accomplished Mexican mapmaker and historian Tomás Filsinger. Just enjoy mousing around the map (and use the shift key to zoom in!) The 2nd link shows another of Tomás’s classic reconstructions, of Tenochtitlan within Lake Texcoco.

Animated story of the Axolotl
Delightful short video of the creation of the 5th Aztec Sun using simple animation, featuring the exotic axolotl or salamander-like creature associated with the god Xolotl.

Aztec artefact study/activity sheets
Well, we couldn’t resist recommending ourselves here! Being an artefact-based teaching team, learning through artefacts has always been our ‘forte’. Check out our unique activity sheets based on every-day Aztec artefacts and linked to special information pages on the website. Aimed at top juniors.

Aztec Names
Based on an academic study of names found in early 16th century documents, this Wikipedia listing gives some insight into the most popular names for boys and girls shortly after the Conquest.

Peter Lourie’s ‘Hidden World of the Aztec’
Peter writes adventure books for children, based largely on his own travels and exploits. He teamed up with our ‘Ask the Experts’ panellist Dr. Leonardo López Luján to witness the excavation of an Aztec stone monolith in the centre of Mexico City, and tells the story in his book.

Music from the Land of the Jaguar
A small but intriguing website produced by Princeton University Art Museum (USA) in support of an exhibition of musical instruments from the major cultures of the ancient Americas (in fact most are from Mexico); you can select instruments, learn more about them and (importantly!) LISTEN to them... (More info on our Aztec Music page)

Phil Tulga’s Aztec Drums webpage
A US music teacher has created a very useful, simply illustrated, introductory webpage on Aztec drum rhythms, based on making connections between language, maths and music

Conquistadors - Mexico
With a major contribution from British historian and broadcaster Michael Wood, the US Oregon Public Broadcasting has created a superb ‘On-line Learning Adventure’ covering both Aztec civilisation AND the Spanish conquest; very extensive, navigable by top Juniors; this is a top class introduction to any study of the Aztecs.

British Museum: Aztecs
We love the BM! Some of their resources can be a little ‘dry’ and even quirky, though. The first link below takes you to their teaching resources on the Americas, including a good downloadable visit support pack on the Aztecs, and the fine (but now almost 20 years old) downloadable 3-part Classroom Resource Pack on the Aztecs written by our friend Penny Bateman back in 1992.
The second link takes you to the ‘Ancient Civilisations’ website of the BM, where there are interactive sections on the Templo Mayor (in ‘Buildings’) and the Tenochtitlan market (in ‘Trade’).

British Museum: Moctezuma
Inspired by the British Museum’s major exhibition, last in the Great Rulers series, that ended in January 2010, the BM has produced two fine teaching resources - a 35-page downloadable teaching pack and a 17-slide Powerpoint presentation (first link below).
Many teaching/activity ideas grew from ‘Moctezuma’ - follow the second link below to see examples of stop-motion animation films made during family workshops in the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre, based on Aztec deities.

All About Chocolate
‘Seed to Sweet Interactive’ is a child-friendly Flash-based educational resource/activity on the stages involved in producing a chocolate bar; part of a broad web resource on the (hi)story of chocolate that supports a major exhibition (currently travelling, first based at the Field Museum, Chicago, in 2002).
Click on ‘Manufacturing Chocolate from Seed to Sweet’.

‘La Casa del Mostro’
An exceptional Mexican site presenting Aztec gods in manga/cartoon/comic style for children, but, understandably, all in Spanish.

Snaith Primary School
An award-winning and long established site on the Aztecs, with 10 information areas, plenty of downloadable material, sets of illustrations, quizzes, etc.

Mesoamerican Timeline
An attractive, simple, clear timeline showing the spread of all the key civilizations in Mexico from 1500 BCE to 1500 CE: part of the excellent site

‘Aztec Daily Life’
An attractive page of wonderfully realistic images of daily life in Tenochtitlan, the illustrations are by Felipe Dávalos, the page is part of the vast online resource bank by Dr. Antonio Rafael de la Cova; well worth exploring the rest of his webpages on the Aztecs

Mr Donn’s ‘The Awesome Aztecs for Kids’
Part of the vast MrDonn teaching website, with kids’ sections, interactives and lesson plans. Full of good, solidly researched, straight-forward, basic, down-to-earth info on the Aztecs for pupils - though it’s ALL text-only.

Odyssey Online - Ancient Americas
An ‘exploration of the cultures of the ancient Central and South Americans as reflected in the art and artifacts they created’, based on the collections of the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University and the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester (USA). Interactive and beautifully illustrated/presented.

‘Mexica Food and Drink’
A creatively animated short video (20 mins.) intruding you to the range of foods and drinks consumed by the Aztecs, presented and produced by Prof. Gilbert Estrada of Long Beach City College, California.

Jade precioso pluma de Quetzal
Part of the Colibrí series of stories included in the educational website of ILCE (Instituto Latinoamericano de la Comunicación Educativa), this is a delightful resource (but in Spanish!): a simple, beautifully illustrated and written story of a day in the life of an Aztec child. Written by experts Doris Heyden and Mariana Yampolsky and illustrated by maestro Alberto Beltrán.

The Sunstone on Youtube
Australia-based Mexican sound engineer and musician Juan Carlos Malvaez has produced an 8-minute animated explanation of the key elements in the Mexica Sunstone (‘Calendar Stone’). Accompanied by the beautiful Huapango by Moncayo, it’s a delight to watch (not perhaps though for younger Juniors).

Turn the pages of an Aztec codex
Most scholars agree that, though overwritten with Spanish commentaries, the Codex Borbonicus (present home: Paris) is to all intents and purposes an ‘Aztec’ codex, possibly the only one in the world still surviving; it’s certainly physically the biggest, and contains a wealth of information. Here, at leisure, you can, at the click of a button, turn its wonderful pages...

‘A PreColumbian Portfolio’
Hosted on the FAMSI research site, this is an accessible and beautiful collection of photos of individual Mexica (Aztec) artefacts by Justin Kerr, clearly set out and with good simple captions.*Aztec*&date_added=

BBC ‘Floating Aztec City’
Short, effective BBC quality video introducing the impressive cityscape of Tenochtitlan. Shame they can’t spell ‘separated’ though!

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Here's what others have said:

Mexicolore replies: Thanks for your kind comments, Ernesto. Our first thought would be to ask for an appointment to see Dr. Leonardo López Luján, Director of the Templo Mayor Project in Mexico City. He’s on our Panel of Experts, is probably Mexico’s leading archaeologist today and is also a great guy!
Mexicolore replies: Most books on the Aztecs in English have a brief reference to Xochiquetzal. At the end of our article by Julia Flood on this goddess in our ‘Aztec Gods’ section there are some useful ideas for bibliography, but only two are in English. If you read Spanish it makes life a lot easier and we can give you lots of sources!
If you’re limited to English, we would recommend you go to the research site and search for Xochiquetzal - there are some additional references in English from well known academics. Good luck!
Mexicolore replies: No limit, as far as we know. Professor Michael Smith, in his archaeological research in the state of Morelos, found evidence that ‘the average household size was five to six members’ (sometimes more), suggesting that Aztec families were often nuclear, with 3-4 children each. Infant mortality was quite high (as in most pre-modern societies) so families often had several children knowing that not all would survive.
Mexicolore replies: Well, we reckon the following:-
• ‘nene’ (Mexican Spanish for ‘kid’) probably comes from the Náhuatl nénetl meaning doll or figurine
• ‘escuincle’ (Mexican Spanish) comes from itzcuintli meaning dog
• ‘chipotle’ (Mexican Spanish) comes from chilpotle meaning smoked chile [from chilli and poctli (smoke)].
The others, including ‘chongos’ (Mexican sweet dish) are of dubious Náhuatl extraction.
Hope this helps!
Mexicolore replies: The only creatures the Aztecs kept regularly at home, as far as we understand, were dogs and turkeys. You’re right, Moctezuma II did have a well-stocked zoo (as well as botanical gardens). ‘Pets’ is perhaps not the right word to use, since they ate both the dogs and the turkeys on special feast days!
Mexicolore replies: Cheers, Juan Carlos, we look forward to seeing more of your work - it’s great!
Mexicolore replies: In our opinion, Gabriel, life is too short to worry about such things; there are far larger issues to tackle...
Mexicolore replies: Thanks Jean. The article is a little obscure, but good to have as a reference. We’re aware that the Musées Royaux d’Art et Histoire in Brussels has a large collection of Aztec objects, and are hoping to do a report on/link to this collection in the future...
Mexicolore replies: Thanks for an intriguing question, Matt. One scholar reports: ‘The most common male name so far is Cuixtli, which I assume is a variant of cuixin, hawk. Looking through Lastra’s Areas Dialectales, I cannot find any modern dialect [of Náhuatl] that uses a related form; those that have forms of cuix- use -in, not -tli. I am wondering if the -tli form is the product of non-native
Náhuatl speakers regularizing a non-standard noun.’ Perhaps, as John Schwaller (on our Panel of Experts) writes ‘The meaning is not kite as in a child’s plaything, but kite as in a type of raptor also known as a hawk.’

Mexicolore replies: Thanks for this, Owen. We’ve checked and you’re right; it seems to have disappeared altogether, so we’ve now removed the link from the page.
Mexicolore replies: So do we! Well, to be honest, they had a good side and a bad side, like all of us - so maybe ‘awesome and troublesome...’