Category Archives: Social Sciences

You’ll find domain-specific material designed to meet Common Core Standards in social studies, along with adapted and differentiated materials that deal with a broad array of conceptual knowledge in the social sciences. See the Taxonomies page for more about this category.

Xiuhtecuhtli

“Xiuhtecuhtli: Aztec god of fire and creator of all life. With Chantico, his feminine counterpart, he was believed to be a representation of Ometecuhtli. Xiuhtecuhtli’s festivals coincided with the two extremes in the climatological cycle, the heat of August and the cold of January. He was also the center of a ritual transfer of fire from temple to temple that occurred once every 52 years at the end of the Aztec calendar cycle.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

The Weekly Text, 25 November 2022, National Native American Heritage Month Week IV: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on Pueblo Civilization

For the final Friday of National Native American Heritage Month 2022, your Weekly Text is this reading on Pueblo Civilization with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

I’m actually publishing this on 18 November, as next week is the Thanksgiving holiday, which I intend to pass (it’s a four-day weekend for us) without sitting in front of this computer.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Mesoamerican Religions

“Mesoamerican religions: Religions of the pre-Columbian cultures of Mexico and Central America, notably the Olmec, Maya, Toltec, and Aztec. All religions of Mesoamerica were polytheistic. The gods had to be constantly propitiated with offerings and sacrifices. The religions also shared a belief in a multilevel universe that had gone through five creations and four destructions by the time of the Spanish conquest. Mesoamerican religions heavily emphasized the astral bodies, particularly the sun, the moon, and Venus, and the observations of their movements by astronomer-priests were extraordinarily detailed and accurate. The Aztecs approached the supernatural through a complex calendar of ceremonies that included songs, dances, acts of self-mortification, and human sacrifices performed by a professional priesthood, in the belief that the welfare of the universe depended on offerings of blood and hearts as nourishment for the sun. The Mayan religion likewise called for human sacrifices, though on a smaller scale. Information on the astronomical calculations, divination, and ritual of the Mayan priests has been gathered from the Mayan codices.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Crazy Horse

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Crazy Horse. This is a half-page worksheet with a two-sentence reading and two comprehension questions. In other words, a spare introduction. Stay tuned, as more material is forthcoming on this important Lakota warrior.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Wounded Knee

“Wounded Knee: Hamlet and creek in southwestern South Dakota, the site of two conflicts between the Sioux Indians and the U.S. government. In 1890 the Sioux had been inspired by the Ghost Dance movement to take up arms and reclaim their heritage, but federal military intervention quelled their rebellion. On December 29 a young brave, while surrendering, became involved in a scuffle and a trooper was killed. Soldiers fired at the Indians, killing more than 200 men, women, and children. Thirty soldiers also died. The so-called Battle of Wounded Knee is regarded as the final episode in the conquest of the North American Indian. In 1973 some 200 members of the American Indian Movement took the reservation hamlet by force, declared it an independent nation, and vowed to stay until the government agreed to address Indian grievances; a siege by federal marshals ended when the Indians surrendered in exchange for a promise of negotiations.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Chief Joseph

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Chief Joseph. This is a half-page worksheet with a reading of two compound sentences and three comprehension questions. And yes, the reading on this document does include Joseph’s famous quote about fighting no more….

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Chief Joseph on Mobility and Stasis

“If you tie up a horse to a stake, do you expect he will grow fat? If you pen an Indian up on a small spot of earth, and compel him to stay there, he will not be contented, nor will he grow and prosper. I have asked some of the great white chiefs where they get their authority to say to the Indian that he shall stay in one place, while he sees white men going where they please. They can not tell me.”

Chief Joseph, North American Review, Apr. 1879

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

The Weekly Text, 18 November 2022, National Native American Heritage Month Week III: A Reading and Comprehension Worksheet on the Pequot War

In the ongoing observation of National Native American Heritage Month 2022 at Mark’s Text Terminal, this week’s Text is this reading on the Pequot War with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Between the impending holiday, parent-teacher conferences (tonight and tomorrow), and the generally hectic character of life at the moment, I have little editorially to say about these documents. It’s a surprisingly thorough account of this conflict, which in many respects marks the beginning of the genocide of First Nation inhabitants of this continent. The reading doesn’t call it that, but it also does not scruple to tell the full story here–the theft of land from indigenous peoples.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Mesoamerican Architecture

“Mesoamerican architecture: Building traditions of the indigenous cultures in parts of Mexico and Central American before the 16th-century Spanish conquest. The idea of constructing temple-pyramids appears to have taken hold early. La Venta, the center of Olmec culture c.800-400 BC, contains one of the earliest pyramidal structure, a mound of earth and clay 100 feet (30 meters) high. Mesoamerican pyramids were generally earth mounds faced with stone. Typically of stepped form, they were topped by a platform or temple which only privileged community members were allowed to approach. The best-known include the Pyramid of the Sun (rivaling the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza) and Pyramid of the Moon at Teotihuacan, the Castillo at Chichen Itza, and largest of all, the 177-foot (54 meters) Pyramid of Quetzalcoatl at Cholula. The Classic period (AD 100-900) saw the flourishing of Mayan architecture, in which the corbeled vault made its first appearance in the Americas. Ceremonial centers in the Mayan Lowlands proliferated, as did inscribed and dated stelae and monuments. Tikal, Uaxactun, Copan, Palenque, and Uxmal all attained their glory in these centuries. A common feature at these sites is a tlachtli, or ball court. Their raised platforms were often the architectural center of ancient cities. See also Monte Alban.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Cultural Literacy: Eskimos

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the Eskimos, some of whom, as this reading observes, prefer to be called Inuits. This is a full-page worksheet with a reading of six sentences–including three long compounds, two of which are separated by semicolons–and seven comprehension questions.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.