This month, we’re digging deep into the question, “What shapes an urban existence?” The lens of focus is Teotihuacan: an ancient civilization that thrived for over six centuries, beginning around 100 BCE, in what is today Central Mexico. We’ve worked closely with BHP teachers and the education staff at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, California, to curate a collection of content and activities related to this topic. We’ve made this collection available to BHP teachers and interested others—for free! Read on for summaries of all the goings-on.
“What shapes an urban existence?”
In this blog post, Emily Jennings from the de Young Museum explains just how we approach answering questions related to Teotihuacan, its economy, and the power structures that succeeded in uniting its diverse population. What is especially exciting about this piece is that it parallels the dynamic Teotihuacan Digital Story, which is another excellent resource to use in classrooms! (Note that the digital story is also available in Spanish.)
BHP Teacher Online Community Exchange: A chat with Hillary Olcott of the Teotihuacan Mapping Project
From February 12-14, members of the BHP Teacher Online Community will have the opportunity to engage in discussion about the Teotihuacan Mapping Project with Hillary Olcott, the assistant curator of Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Teotihuacan: Artifacts and Symbols
This activity, created by Louisiana-based BHP teacher Bridgette O’Connor, uses Emily’s essay and the Teotihuacan Digital Story as a launchpad to get students closely examining the artifacts and symbols of the ancient civilization. Students document the conditions surrounding the discovery of certain artifacts, explain how these items teach us about life in Teotihuacan, and draw comparisons to symbols from other urban spaces of past and present.
Download Bridgette’s activity
“Tackling Teotihuacan in My BHP-World History Classroom”
California-based BHP teacher Hajra Saeed talks about how she would incorporate the Teotihuacan material and Bridgette’s activity into her BHP-World classroom. Says Hajra, “As I look for more ways to incorporate world history standards into BHP, I realize this activity would be powerful because it would provide relevance of BHP content to the modern world while also teaching students important historical reasoning skills. Now, that is bang for my buck!”
Read Hajra’s take!
Cover image: 1. Standing figure, 200–250. Greenstone, 20 ½ x 9 ¼ in. (52 x 23.5 cm). Zona de Monumentos Arqueológicos de Teotihuacán. Photograph by Jorge Pérez de Lara Elías, © INAH. 2. Standing figure, 200–250. Greenstone, 14 1/8 x 6 1/2 in. (36 x 16.5 cm). Zona de Monumentos Arqueológicos de Teotihuacán. Photograph by Jorge Pérez de Lara Elías, © INAH.3. Standing Figure, 200–250. Greenstone, 20 1/2 × 9 1/4 in. (52 × 23.5 cm). Zona de Monumentos Arqueológicos de Teotihuacán. Photograph by Jorge Peréz de Lara Elías, © INAH.