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Adventure 1: Mysterious Mayan Mission

Westwood and the Mayan Mission

A trailer for our first adventure: The Mysterious Mayan Mission

John Lloyd Stephens, a famous American explorer, has built a time machine that will allow him to set up a business taking tourists to the Mayan civilisation. Will the Mayan people think it is a good idea? Class 5/6W are going along on the adventure to find out.

On beginning our adventure to travel back in time to discover all about the Mayan civilization, we decided that we should first learn about where the Mayans lived so we would know where our time machine should take us.


We discovered that the Mayan’s lived in Central America. We located this on a World Map, plotted the journey our time machine would take from the UK and then identified the 7 countries that were in Central America. We wrote the countries name on our map and the 7 capital cities.

After travelling back in time in our time machine we arrived in 900AD. Tentatively we stepped out into the Mayan civilisation, Chichen Itza to be precise. The sight we were met with was quite extraordinary so we decided we should record exactly what we saw. The Mayan people were busy building an incredible temple in the heart of Chichen Itza. Here you can see our setting descriptions.

After we spent some time admiring the wonderful land of the Mayans we learnt that they weren’t happy with John Lloyd Stephens’ idea to bring tourists to see their way of life. We decided to take part in a debate to try and understand the best way forward for everyone. Half of the class were on the side of the Mayans and half on the side of Mr Stephens.

On completing our debate we decided to write an argument so everyone was able to consider both sides.

After considering both the Mayan and John Lloyd Stephen’s points of view, we brainstormed ideas for how we could reach a compromise. The Mayan people agreed that we could stay in their civilisation for 4 weeks and they would teach us all about their way of life. We would then return home in the time machine and create a museum to display all we have discovered.

In order to allow us into the Mayan civilisation to learn about their way of life, the Mayan people set us some tasks to complete before arriving. We had to learn about the way in which they named themselves and discover our own Mayan name. We then decorated a name plate with Mayan patterns. We also had to design and make a Mayan headdress paying close attention to how they were decorated.

We then travelled to Belize to meet a Mayan craftsman who was in need of our help. He made fantastic weapons for the Mayan warriors to use however there was lots of competition. He asked if we would write some adverts to persuade the Mayan warriors that his weapons were the best! Before we wrote our advert we had to discover all about the amazing features his weapons had.

Our next journey took us to meet a Mayan priest. He taught us all about the Mayan Gods. We learnt their names, what they were a God of, what they looked like and many interesting facts. We then had to help John Lloyd Stephens as his typewriter had stopped working. We each chose a God to write about and put these together into a leaflet to bring back to our museum.

For the next part of our adventure we met Frederick Catherwood, who is a famous artist. He showed us drawings he had done of the Mayan civilisation. We then created our own in his style.

We then journeyed to meet the Mayan farmers who taught us about the food they grew. We made a still life composition of Mayan food: sweet potato, tomato, corn, avocado and pepper. We drew the food taking care to consider the scale and shading of the food.

After learning about Mayan food we had also discovered that the Mayans discovered the cocoa bean and liked flavouring their chocolate with spices. We made our own hot chocolates flavoured with chilli powder and cinnamon. We wrote out instructions to hand out at the Mayan museum.

To conclude our Mayan Mission, we held a Mayan museum in class displaying all our hard work and everything we had learned over the course of the adventure. To accompany this, the visitors were treated to Mayan-style hot chocolates and even a Mayan-inspired dance by Class 5/6A.