Cycle 1 Week 3- Mayan Glyphs

Just like the ancient Egyptians, the Maya had a written language that was based on symbols and pictures.  The images used in their writing are complex and in fact required artists to accomplish them.  In this way, scribes always had to be artists, and their word for “scribe” reflected this: t’zib means both artist and scribe!  (This makes me think of modern-day calligraphy: the melding of written language and art).

For this week’s upside-down drawing, I used the Mayan symbol for chocolate.  This article and fabulous video talk about the Mayan language, and also decode the glyph for “chocolate”.  It’s super fun and interesting!


Drawing paper


Dark colored folder (or 9×12 piece of black paper)

Print-out of Mayan glyph (see lesson plan)

Colored pencils

Optional: Book on Mayan culture/glyphs or image of Mayan art


Each of the following lesson plans uses the same image for “chocolate”, but simplified versions for the younger ages.  The video shows how I set up an upside-down drawing and a few tips on drawing what we see.

Cycle 1 Week 3- Mayan Glyphs Ages 4-6 lesson plan

Cycle 1 Week 3- Mayan Glyphs Ages 7-9 lesson plan

Cycle 1 Week 3- Mayan Glyphs Ages 10-11 lesson plan

NOTE!!!!!  In the video, the fish’s mouth is at the top of the paper, the first section I pull up.  I realized after that it is much less recognizable if you flip the image so that the tail is the first section students see.  Having the tail at the top is much, much better for this exercise.  In the lesson plans the image is set the correct way.  Kind of confusing?  Contact me and I’ll try to do a better job of explaining what I mean!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *