Learning Exercise

Mesoamerican Ballgame

Mesoamerican ballgame provides the opportunity to examine the preColumbian history and culture of Mexico. An interactive map guides the user through the world of the Olmec, Maya, and Aztec populations of Central America. Users explore the world of Mexico's native populations, the history and the sport of the ballgame, and museum exhibits. The exhibit items were part of a national museum tour. The site ahs won numerous awards and there are suggested classroom activities.
Course: United States History survey, World Civilization.

MesoAmerican Ballgame provides the opportunity to examine the preColumbian history and culture of Mexico. An interactive... see more


The Maya were the only population group in the Americas to develop a written language and along with the people of India, one of two civilizations to independently develop the place value for zero. The Maya civilization flourished from 1500 B.C.E. to 519 C.E. During this time the Maya developed a Ballgame that attracted large crowds.

To learn about the world of the Maya before playing the ballgame, Click Enter. Click Explore World. Click Explore. Click Maya. Read the Culture and Artwork sections. Go the map and read the information for the icons Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Palenque, Tikal, Yaxchilan, Bonampak, and Copan and the ballgame and artwork.

Click Explore the Ballgame. Click and read the ball, uniforms, the court song, diagrams, and artwork gallery, and artwork on an ancient vessel. Click Game. Read How we play the Game, What happened to the losers, Explore this artwork, Did women play, and Watch a game. Now you are ready to play the game. Click Game. The player is given five balls to score against an opponent by successfully answering the questions abou the Maya from the above material just read. How well did you do? Report your score.

After completing the game and reading about the Maya, write a 5-7 page paper explaining the Mesoamerican ballgame and how it developed logically out of the culture of the Maya. In the discussion of the ballgame be sure to present information about women players and what happened to the losers.
Additional Information: None.

Technical Notes

Assignment needs Flash 5+ plugin and 5.0+ browser.




The Americas
Central America

Learning Objectives

To acquaint students with the history,art, and culture of Mexico's preColumbian civilizations.
To acquaint students with the art of the ballgame, its origins and place in Maya history.