Complete document for all three sessions of Maya, Aztec, and Incan civilizations. This is a large file and should be downloaded (right-click on link) and viewed in Adobe Reader.

Session1:  Examining the Physical Environment of Mesoamerican Civilizations

The physical environment provides the setting for the development of civilizations. Students apply the concept of relative location as they interpret and analyze a series of maps. During the learning activity, students gather information about the physical environment (location, topography, climate, and vegetation) from maps and record their observations.

At the conclusion of the information-gathering phase, students identify possible challenges the Mesoamerican civilizations faced. Students then make predictions about the civilization’s social, political and economic response to the physical environment.

Key Questions

  • What are the physical characteristics of Mesoamerica?
  • How did the physical environment influence the development of Mesoamerican civilizations?
  • How did the Aztecs and Maya overcome the limitations of their physical environment?

Note: The following files contain layered pdfs. In order to manipulate the map layers, you must download each file.


Lesson with attachments This is a large file and should be downloaded (right-click on link) and read in Adobe Reader.

Lesson without attachments


All Attachments

Teacher Notes

Using Layered Portable Document Files (pdfs)

WH1.11a Teacher Resources

To Session 2.
To Session 3.

Return to World History and Geography to 1500 A.D. (C.E.) page.

A product of the Virginia Geographic Alliance.      VGA logo

Comments are closed.