In the Classroom: Mayan Bul

Over two days, Anne Phillips worked with 160 sixth grade students to bring ancient Mayan civilization to life.  Anne provided each student with instructions and inspiration to create their own version of the Mayan game “Bul.”  Instead of burnt corn, sticks, and shells, students used clay and cloth to create 1 playing board, 1 die, and 10 playing pieces.  Anne brought pictures of traditional Mayan statues and symbols as inspiration for playing pieces.  The rectangular cloth was divided into 14 columns to create a playing board.  And then the playing ensued!  Students grouped into pairs and rolled the die to see who went first (highest number first).  To move, the student rolled the die and moved a playing piece forward the correlating number of spaces (on the lined cloth board).  Each turn consists of two rolls and you move your piece or pieces (you being to bring in your other pieces) forward.  When you reach the end of the board you turn around and begin moving back.  The object is to land on the same space as your opponent and then use the die to roll your way back to your side of the board with your opponent’s captured piece, thus killing his piece.  The game continues until all of one player’s pieces are dead.

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Penland School of Crafts
NC Arts Council
Community Foundation of Western NC

Teaching Artists

Anne Phillips
Pat Benard

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