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Activity Instructions > Climate and Civilization - the Maya Example
Teaching Strategy: Guided Inquiry
Day 1 (classroom)
- Show parts 1 and 2 of “Ancient Apocalypse - The Maya Collapse” on YouTube. If you are using the video instead of the Internet, then stop the video at a point corresponding to the end of part 2 (after about 20 minutes).
- Introduce the activity to the students. You may use selected slides from the PowerPoint provided.
- In order to do the activity, students must make the same assumptions as ODP science team. Review and discuss these assumptions using slides from the PowerPoint.
Assumption 1: That the climate was the same in the Mayan Lowlands and in Venezuela – meaning that rainfall amounts could be compared between these two areas, which are separated by hundreds of miles. This assumption is connected to the location of Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and its seasonal migrations.
Assumption 2: That the layers of core sediment could be used like “tree-rings” to measure the climate and date those measurements. This assumption is connected to the Geological Principles of Superposition and Original Horizontality.
Assumption 3: That the concentration of the element titanium (Ti) (Atomic number 22 and atomic weight of 47.87) in sediment layers is indicative of the relative amount of rain that fell during the time period that the sedimentary layer accumulated. This assumption is based on the knowledge that Ti is a strong, resistant metal that is non-corrosive. During times of heavy runoff, Ti is washed to the ocean and accumulates in the sediment. During times of drought, less Ti accumulates in the sediment.
- Have students answer the review questions (Maya Student Worksheet 1 in Student Packet)
Day 2 (computer lab)
- Have students access the Maya Activity data files (you may collect these and place in a folder called “Maya”) on their computers.
- Instruct students to work through the activity and answer the questions in Maya Student Worksheet 2, following the procedures given.
- If there is time, watch part 3 of “Ancient Apocalypse - The Maya Collapse” on YouTube.
Day 3 (classroom)
- Have students share their answers with the class and moderate a discussion about their findings.
- Watch the parts 4 and all of part 5 of the BBC documentary, Ancient Apocalypse - The Maya Collapse, on YouTube.