In this challenge, students explore the effect of the clash of different worldviews by drawing inferences about the beliefs and values of ancient Aztec and Spanish conquistador societies based on a study of images. Students also hypothesize about the most likely result when these two cultures meet.
A. Develop profiles of the worldviews of ancient Aztec and Spanish conquistador
societies by drawing inferences from historical images.
Review worldview elements
This challenge presupposes that students have been introduced previously to the concept of worldview.
Key elements of a worldview are summarized in Concept of Worldview (Background Information).
To help students recognize their own worldview and those of other individuals and societies, see The Foundations of Worldview (Overarching Critical Inquiry).
Introduce images of Aztec and Spanish societies
Gather resources containing images of Aztec and imperial Spanish societies (see References). To introduce these societies, explain to students that they are going to study images of typical scenes from two societies. Do not reveal the identities of the societies at this stage. Direct students to look for details or clues in the sample pictures and to draw inferences from the explicit contents of the images.
You may want to model this analysis using two sample images—one image drawn from each society. Stress that any conclusions should be tentative since students do not know much about these two groups.
The 5W questions are a helpful framework for this purpose:
- Who are the people? (e.g., soldiers, rulers, merchants)
- What are they doing? (e.g., praying, manufacturing, harvesting)
- Where is the action taking place? (e.g., palace courtyard, agricultural area, a ship)
- When is it happening? (e.g., long ago, in medieval times, during the Renaissance)
- Why is it happening? (e.g., securing food, protecting territory, accumulating wealth)
See Interpreting and Reinterpreting Images (Modelling the Tools) for detailed instructions on analyzing the explicit messages in images.
Analyze images of each society
After students have some understanding of the task, organize the class into two groups and distribute several images of the Aztecs to one group and of Spanish conquistador society to the other group. Subdivide each group so that several students examine the same image.
You may want to provide students with the chart in Reporter’s Log (Support Material) to record the evidence and conclusions for their assigned images.
Arrange for students within each group to share their interpretations of the images. To summarize the hypotheses, ask each group to develop, collectively, a master list organized around the 5W questions.
You may want to provide students with adapted charts in Collecting Information (Support Material) to record their hypotheses.
Review identifying implied worldviews
If students have not had experience in identifying the implied worldview represented in a document, you may want to use the activities in Worldviews Expressed (Critical Challenge) and Folk Tales and Worldview (Critical Challenge).
After students have had an opportunity to examine the explicit content of the images for their assigned society, explain to the class that images can reveal much about a society’s worldview.
Review the key elements of a worldview:
- view of human nature
- view of the good life
- equality with others
- responsibilities to others
- relationship between the individual and the state
- relationship of humans with nature
- sources of ethical wisdom.
Referring to the two images previously used to demonstrate the 5W questions, model analysis of the images by looking for clues about the implied worldview.
Use the prompts in Clues for Identifying Worldviews (Background Information) in Exploring Worldview (Support Material). You may wish to adapt a chart in Interpreting and Reinterpreting Images (Modelling the Tools) on analyzing the implicit messages in images.
Analyze images for worldview elements
After students have some understanding of the task, direct them to return to their original groups and analyze the same or a different image.
Ask students to use the chart Analyzing Worldview in Exploring Worldview (Support Material) to record their conclusions about the implied worldview and the supporting evidence.
Caution students that their image may not contain clues about some elements of worldview. Arrange for students within each group to share interpretations of the images for their assigned society. Direct each group to develop, collectively, a master list organized around the elements of worldview, summarizing what they have hypothesized about its society.
You may want to adapt one of the charts in Collecting Information (Support Material) to record their hypotheses.
Share findings on common elements
Arrange for each group to present evidence and conclusions about one element of the worldview of its assigned society. After both groups have presented on a common element, ask students to look for the similarities and differences between the two societies. Continue the presentations so that both groups present on a common element before the groups proceed to the next element.
Direct each student to use the chart Comparing Versions in Comparing Differences (Support Material) to record similarities and differences for each element.
After all the elements have been presented, ask students to pair off with a student from the other group and compare lists. Invite each pair of students to comment on their findings using the following sentence stems:
- Some commonalities in the worldviews of the two societies are …
- Some differences in the worldviews of the two societies are …
- The most significant differences in the worldviews of the two societies are …
- These are significant differences because …
B. Predict the most likely results when these two societies meet.
Make predictions about likely results when two societies meet
Invite students to predict, individually, the most likely results when these two societies meet. Discuss the criteria for a plausible prediction:
- likely to happen given features of their respective worldviews
- supported by details in the images.
Ask students to refer to evidence and to explain what each piece of evidence suggests about a likely outcome.
You may want to adapt the charts and strategies in Supporting Conclusions (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Invite students to share their predictions with the class.
Explain that students will now learn about the identity of the two societies and the outcome of contact between them. Arrange for students to read about Aztec and Spanish societies to learn about the outcome. Students will also be able to evaluate and add to their hypotheses about their respective worldviews.