User Menu

MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

2nd Grade Making Sense of Maya Culture: Pictographs, Hieroglyphs, and Weaving

I. Unit Overview:

This integrated unit on weaving presents second graders with questions about cultural heritage, expression and change over time. By exploring, emulating, varying and creating original patterns using a variety of techniques and materials, students develop an appreciation for Maya art and iconography. As their skill in weaving develops (from paper weaving to use of a cardboard loom to tapestry and backstrap weaving), children delve more and more deeply into the history, culture and geography of the Mayas.  Students will develop a relationship with Threads of Hope, a women’s weaving cooperative for widows and orphans of the Guatemalan civil war in Sololá, Guatemala. Ultimately, children will make friendship bracelets to sell as a fundraiser to support an educational or humanitarian project in Sololá.

A visit to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Meso-American Exhibit will raise questions as students examine and discuss artifacts from the Maya civilization. Two visits to the MFA will center on utilitarian ceramic objects created by Maya master artists. Observational drawing in the gallery will give children the opportunity to make their own renderings of pictographs to use for a final project to be completed at school and be exhibited in a public venue. They will also study traditional and contemporary textiles in the galleries to expand their ideas about weaving materials and styles.