Mesoamerica Unit: Pok-a-Tok Literacy Game

For our first two days of our Level 2 Mesoamerica Unit, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Maya Empire. The Mayan civilization began as early as 2000 B.C. and was located in Central America, made up of southern Mexico, Guatemala, the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and northern El Salvador. To start, help you child find where this empire existed on your map, globe, or atlas. This map can also help you know where to start.

Next, let’s read Rain Player by David Wisniewski (or read it here on OpenLibrary) to learn about a famous Mayan legend. In Rain Player, Pik must win a game of pok-a-tok (also called pok ta pok or ulama in Mexico) to save his people. Let’s play our own version to practice building words or sentences.

What you need:
What to do:

Start by cutting the middles out of the paper plates to create our pok-a-tok rings. Tape them to a blank wall.

Using the sticky notes, write several sight words your child is familiar with that can be formed into a sentence. Review the words with your child as you write them so they can feel confident in reading them.
(-) For younger children, you can use this as a letter recognition game or to identify lower and upper case letters.

Put a sticky note in each ring. Then, ask your child to “build” a sentence by throwing the ball into each ring to add the word to their sentence. For example, if you put “the,” “cat,” “ate,” and “mouse” in each ring, then your child could build the sentence “The cat ate the mouse.” (They can throw the ball in “the” twice.)

After they have built a sentence or two, add new sight word sticky notes to build something new.

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Published by The Learn + Live Letter

The Learn + Live Letter is a play- and project-based homeschool curriculum for children ages 3-12.

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