By: Stacia Deering
It was many years ago, when I was in high school, when I first read about the Mayans. Kids tend to get interested in ancient cultures; Ancient Egypt is a favorite. I, too, was interested in the world of mummies, but even more so in space science, and then I read about the Mayans. The most fascinating of all artifacts was their calendar; astronomically even more sophisticated than Ancient Egypt’s! I made a note in my journal – 2012. If anyone were to accurately predict “the end”, it would be the Mayans!
My interest in the Mayan calendar and culture has grown since then. I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and Tulum. I read whatever is published on the Maya, and since I am a math and science teacher, I share everything with my students. The past few years in particular I have been covering the history of the Mayan Calendar. We compare linear to cyclical time constructs. Although it’s round, one of the interesting points is that this IS the “end” of the last Mayan long count. Is the world really going to end? Of course not, but, as my students love to say, “What if?” Amidst the hype in the media, what can we get out of this opportunity for reflection?
Personally, I’ve been waiting for this for 30 years! I love the idea of the stela you’ve commissioned in observance of the date. I have a countdown clock on my iPad and a small Mayan Calendar on my keychain. I’ll be observing 13 0 0 0 0 no matter where I am, but the thought of immersing myself in the Mayan culture for a week! What an opportunity to share with my students!