Celebrating Hispanic Culture Activity
1200 B.C. to 300 A.D.
Not much is known about the original inhabitants of what we know today as Mexico and Central America. One of the earliest Indian tribes discovered is the Olmecs. They are well-known for many amazing contributions as an early civilization, including three religious centers that they created. The Olmecs excelled in architecture, pottery, art, math, and astronomy. Their skills in astronomy helped them to design a calendar that is almost as accurate as the one used today. The Olmec civilization mostly inhabited the areas of La Venta and San Lorenzo on the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the most significant artifacts left behind by the Olmecs were huge sculpted stone heads Some are as large as 8′ (2.4 m) tall and weigh as much as 40 tons (36 metric tons). These huge pieces were carved and moved to the hilltops. Like the pyramids in Egypt, scientists do not know how the Olmecs moved the stones or why they were placed on the hilltops to overlook the land. The stones are sculpted into various combinations, mixing features of humans and animals, such as jaguars. Some have suggested that the stones were meant to be symbols of their rulers.
WORKSHEET & Sample PDF Activity
Sample PDF Activity
Olmec Stone Head
Much has been said about the amazing. huge stone heads made by the Olmecs. Create your own using the instructions below. Make a large one to represent the entire class or have each student design a small stone head for herself.
2″ x 12″ (5 cm x 30.5cm)
Chicken wire (optional)
Glue and water mixture
(1:1 ratio) or liquid starch
If making one very Large stone head as a class use chicken wire to form the stone head shape.
- Form a large piece of newspaper into a rounded, head shape.
- Dip the newspaper strips into the starch or glue mixture and wrap them around the head shape. Allow 1his layer to dry before adding a new one.
- Keep wrapping the newspaper strips until there is a shape of a large stone head
- Using newspaper, build up facial features, such as a nose, mouth, chin, and forehead.
- Let it dry, then paint the head to represent yourself or another important figure.