How To Make A Mayan Temple Model

El Castillo Mayan Temple, used as inspiration for our Mayan Temple model

How to make a Mayan Temple – homework help from Family Makes!

I know, it can seem frustrating and kind of odd that teachers insist on sending this type of project home – make a model of ‘insert historic monument or artefact here‘! Frustration/desperation aside though, it does make sense really. It reinforces their learning (which is the point of homework at this primary school age), it is meant to be fun, and it is something which they probably wouldn’t be able to find the time to do in class, with all of the other curriculum pressures they have these days.

So, that’s my bit for sticking up for teachers. But I’m not a teacher, I’m a Mum, so I totally understand the normal pressures of family life too! That’s why I’m hoping we can offer you some help here. This project in particular gave me some headaches! There isn’t much information out there about making Mayan Temples. So, here it is, in a nutshell:

El Castillo Mayan Temple, used as inspiration for our Mayan Temple model
El Castillo Mayan Temple

Background information about Mayans –

The Mayans were a civilisation based in Mesoamerica, the area we now know as Central America and Mexico. The classic Mayan period is considered c 200-900 AD, but there is evidence of beginning of Mayan civilisations as far back as 250 BC.

Amazing Aztec Mayan Calendar
Amazing Mayan Calendar

Mayans were very interesting, they developed writing, were well known for their mathematical skills and development of an accurate calendar. They developed cities and interesting architecture which can still be seen today. They were also very blood thirsty and had blood-letting and piercing rituals, as well as human sacrifices. Real Horrible History!

The Mayan Temples were square stepped pyramids. This makes for interesting craft challenges!

Steps and patterns of the Mayan Temple
Steps and patterns of the Mayan Temple

Toby has made a video for you, showing how we made our model, and giving some more Mayan facts.

The basic premise of the model is:

  1. Collect square boxes in various sizes, or rectangular boxes which can easily be cut and re-sized to square (not cubes, just the main surface being square)
  2. Stack the boxes in decreasing size, then secure together. We used double-sided sticky tape as glue can make the boxes soggy or sometimes isn’t secure enough.
  3. Paint the boxes in your chosen colour. We used acrylic paint as poster paint doesn’t cover printed and shiny boxes well. Initially we were going to go for red as Mayans painted their temples red to represent blood which they thought was alive, but after a comprehensive search we found most temples were stone-coloured (sandstone or grey), so we went for a mix of these. You could also add a moss green to represent the growth and ageing over the years.
  4. Add patterns as per the Mayan examples
  5. Use folded cardboard to make the steps up the sides of the temples, and stick in place
  6. Add people if desired, or mount on a board painted green for the grass and trees.
Chichen Itza Mayan Temple inspiration for how to make a Mayan Temple Model. Homework help from Family Makes
Chichen Itza Mayan Temple

If you want further information about Mayans, we found useful resources at The School Run and lovely illustrated information at DK Find Out .

If you want more homework help, we’ve also done projects about How To Make A Roman Shield and How To Make An Anglo-Saxon House Model, as well as some interesting STEAM type science in taking apart and looking inside a tablet computer, an X-box and a printer!

Would you like to pin this for later?

Homework Help from Family Makes - How To Make A Mayan Temple Model. We're making it easy for you here! History information and craft about the Mayans
How To Make A Mayan Temple Model – pin for later


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13 Replies to “How To Make A Mayan Temple Model”

  1. Oh this is great! I loved the Anglo-Saxon house when you guys made it as the Historian and crafter came together and not there is another one. Such a great project! Thanks for joining in #littlemakes and for helping me with history projects many many years down the line with my kids!
    Fee Shaw recently posted…Aiden mimics Art (books)My Profile

    1. Thank you so much Fee. We’re planning on doing more, so I hope you continue to enjoy them.

  2. Oooh I see a change of theme around here very nice. Hands on learning is great. #littlemakes

    1. Thanks for noticing Helena! It’s a work in progress, but we’re getting there!

      1. As they say Rome wasn’t built in a day but in thiscase maybe it’s Mesoamerica x #MakeItLinky
        Helena recently posted…Next Stop TetburyMy Profile

  3. That’s a fantastic effort! Well done. I’ve been to Chichen Itza and seen El Castillo in person and climbed it. It’s a little scary when you know what went on there! #littlemakes

  4. What a cool project! I just started homeschooling, so I might have to try this. Thanks! #thelistlinky

    1. Familymakes says: Reply

      Oh good, I’m glad you find it useful. We’re planning to do plenty more, so please keep an eye out!

  5. This is so great! It turned out fantastically well! Good job!
    Sarah recently posted…How To Tune Out From TechnologyMy Profile

  6. Oh wow this looks good and great for us other mummies to get fab tips! #littlemakes

    1. Familymakes says: Reply

      Thank you Sonia, if you’ve got school-age children there’s always a model or two to be made!

  7. Wow yes! You do get tricky homeworks! But it’s so great that you do the background research with your kids- I bet theyll really remember this special family time! #littlemakes

    1. Familymakes says: Reply

      Thanks Jemma – we like a challenge!!

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