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6th Grade: The Americas
Big Idea
Bias changes the way history is recorded.

Geographic factors affected settlement patterns and living conditions.

Past civilizations affect each other and future civilizations.
Essential Questions
  • Should societies conquer others for power and wealth?
  • How did the Mayan civilization develop into an advanced civilization in Mesoamerica?
  • What enabled the Aztecs to build a strong empire in central Mexico?
  • What were the major characteristics of the Incan Empire in South America and how did the Spanish conquer them?
  • What major innovations improved life for the Native Americans of Mexico and South America?

Describe factors (i.e., farming methods, domestication of animals) that led to the development of cultures and civilizations from hunting and gathering societies.
Describe scientific and cultural advancements in ancient civilizations (e.g., networks of roads, aqueducts, art and architecture, literature and theatre, mathematics, philosophy).
Describe the factors that cause regions and places to change.
Describe the religious traditions that helped shape the culture of the following ancient civilizations
  • Sumeria, India - polytheism
  • Egypt - belief in an afterlife
  • China - ancestor worship
  • Middle East - monotheism
  • Identify the three major pre-Columbian civilizations that existed in Central and South America (Maya, Aztec, and Inca) and their locations
  • Describe their political structures, religious, practices, economies, art and architecture, and use of slaves.
  • Explain how the European colonial period affected the major economic, political, and social structures in South America.
  • Analyze how early Mayan, Aztec, and Incan innovations influenced later civilizations.
  • Compare the emergence of advanced civilizations in Meso and South America with the four early river valley civilizations.
Content/Core Ideas
  • Exchange between these civilizations have both positive and cataclysmic impacts on these particular societies and civilizations.
  • As economic, social, and political needs change, countries in Europe seek to meet their needs through exploration.
  • The impact of early civilization on America and the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca influence on the country of origin today.
  • The native cultures adapted and changed the environment to meet their needs.
  • The Mayans, Aztecs, and Incans each has a unique culture.
Academic Vocabulary
  • ceremonial center
  • cultural borrowing
  • cultural trait
  • glyph
  • Mayan
  • Olmec
  • codex
  • colony
  • immunity
  • indigenous
  • encomienda
  • Columbian exchange
  • confederation
  • conquistador
  • quipu
  • coureur de bois
  • mesa
  • mitima
  • reclaim
  • quinoa
  • terrain
  • Quechua
  • Aztecs
  • sacrifice
  • Mesoamerica
  • causeway
  • Chinampa