Excavate! Mesoamerica

Apply C3 skills in this middle school social studies game that brings the ancient civilizations of the Maya, Aztec, and Inca to life through Archaeology.

Game Overview

Piece together the daily life of ancient Mesoamerican civilizations in this immersive social studies educational game!  Use Archaeological thinking to apply C3 skills of Inquiry and Evaluation of Evidence to aspects of Mayan, Incan, and Aztec daily life not covered in textbooks. Excavate and analyze three significant locations to make connections and deduce facts about the people who lived, worked and played there. Visit the sites in any order; your progress will be recorded in journals that log collected artifacts, field notes and achievements.  At each location, make meaning of how artifacts were used through a series of analysis questions and reports that help you consider the historical context of the primary source artifacts to make connections.  Finally, players see each site come alive as artifacts populate an historically accurate image of Mesoamerican life.

Featured Learning Goals:

  • Explore the significance of jade and obsidian for the Maya
  • Gain a new perspective on Aztec engineering accomplishments
  • Describe the role of gods in Incan society
  • Distinguish the roles of women and men in Mesoamerican societies
  • Compare and contrast the lifestyles of the Maya, Aztec and Inca
  • Piece together daily life
  • Explain architectural innovations that were used to build temples and palaces

Game Purchase Options

This world history educational product is available for online browser play at our store and for tablets and phones at one of the app stores below.  iOS and Android tablets are supported.

Price: $3.99 US  (store may vary in price)

For Online Play

For iOS iPad & Phone play

For Android Tablet Play

Amazon Fire Tablet Play

Curriculum Materials

  • Teacher’s Guide – a step-by-step guide for game-play as well as a resource containing all content and answers. (2 Files – Excavate Overview & Mesoamerica Content Guide)
  • 101 Lesson– Before jumping into playing Excavate! use this lesson to teach students basic archaeological terms and practice analyzing an artifact together. (Attached lesson plan from the archaeology institute of America)
  • Inquiry-Based Analysis Lesson (D-I-E) – Activate student interest before playing Excavate! Mesoamerica by inviting students to describe artifacts and hypothesize their use in ancient Mesoamerica.  Use the D-I-E lessons to record observations during game-play and to check their hypotheses for accuracy.  It is a fun way to prepare and engage with content while playing Excavate! Mesoamerica. (Answer sheet included)
  • Artifact-Based Question Prompt (ABQ) – Each location in Excavate! Mesoamerica culminates with a beautifully rendered scene that incorporates all excavated artifacts in an historically accurate scene.  Use this scene combined with artifacts from the game to have your students answer a DBQ assignment that will demonstrate their learning. (rubric included)
  • Excavate! Mesoamerica Card Game – Check for student understanding from our video game by having students play a card game cooperatively!  Students will make connections between artifacts, locations and people in this divergent thinking game.  (printable pdf)

C3 Framework for Social Studies Standards

  • D2.Civ.1.6-8.  Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of citizens, political parties, interest groups, and the media in a variety of governmental and nongovernmental contexts.
  • D2.Civ.2.6-8. Explain specific roles played by citizens (such as voters, jurors, taxpayers, members of the armed forces, petitioners, protesters, and office-holders).
  • D2.Eco.1.6-8. Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
  • D2.Eco.4.3-5. Explain why individuals and businesses specialize and trade.
  • D2.Geo.6.6-8. Explain how the physical and human characteristics of places and regions are connected to human identities and cultures.
  • D2.Geo.7.3-5. Explain how cultural and environmental characteristics affect the distribution and movement of people, goods, and ideas.
  • D2.His.9.3-5. Summarize how different kinds of historical sources are used to explain events in the past.
  • D2.His.3.6-8.Use questions generated about individuals and groups to analyze why they, and the developments they shaped, are seen as historically significant.

GBLxAPI

The Excavate! Rome educational game includes the new GBLxAPI standard developed through the support of the National Science Foundation. GBLxAPI creates a common standard for analytics collection across game-based learning and other digital educational products. In the Excavate! Rome game, GBLxAPI is used to track student progress against C3 and ELA education standards in an easy to read format. Learn more about this standard and how it can help you evaluate your students’ learning at gblxapi.org.

Platform Support

Explore The Complete EXCAVATE! Series

Six World Civilizations

Mesopotamia – Egypt – Greece – Rome – MesoAmerica – Byzantine (coming soon)


Game Reviews

We are studying different civilizations this year and it’s a FANTASTIC resource to help them make connections.

5th Grade Gifted Computer and Technology, Fort Walton Beach, FL

“Excavating was great, and my favorite aspect of the game.

7th Grade Student, Ridley, PA

I LOVED the analysis questions because it assisted the kids in seeing the “big” picture and make connections.” 

5th Grade Social Studies, Canfield, OH 

Questions regarding how to use in the classroom?  Contact Us.

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