Skip to Main Content

World History--Pre-Columbian Civilizations: Home

Assignment Topic

The pre-Columbian civilizations in the Americas had many accomplishments. The European explorers and missionaries were often impressed what they found in the Americas.

“The center was surrounded with a very broad wall of dry stone eighth of a league in extent, with two narrow doorways; the wall itself was low. In the middle of the enclosure they built their temples, calling the largest Chichen Itza. These has many levels of stone. They built another circular temple, different from the others in the country, and with four entrances in line with directions. The temples were connected one with the other by stone paths and boulevards. Within the enclosure they also built houses for the lords.”

- Fray Diego de Landa describing the Maya in A Relation of the Things of the Yucatan

“This city has many public squares, in which are situated the markets and other places for buying and selling. There is one square twice as large as that of the city of Salamanca, surrounded by porticoes, where are daily assembled more than sixty thousand souls, engaged in buying, and selling; and where are found all kinds of merchandise that the world affords.”

- Hernan Cortes describing the Aztec in Second Letter to His Majesty King Charles V of Spain

“In all these capitals of the provinces, the Incas had temples of the Sun, mints, and many silversmiths who did nothing but work rich pieces of gold or fair vessels of silver; large garrisons were stationed there, and a steward who was in command of them all, to whom an accounting of everything that was brought in was made, and who, in turn, had to give one of all that was issued. At the beginning of the new year the rulers of each province came to Cuzco, to pay their tribute, bringing their quipus, which told how many births there had been during the year, and how many deaths.”

- Pedro de Cieza de Leon describing the Inka in Chronicles of the Incas

Assignment in brief

Civilizations of the Americas Achievement Paragraph Assignment

Rough Draft DUE:  Monday 11/13 (A Day) or Tuesday 11/14 (B Day) by beginning of class

Final Draft DUE:  Friday 11/17 by 4 PM


November 1/2: Introduce Assignment

November 3/6: Chicago Style Formatting & Direct Quotes/ Brainstorming / Work Period

November 7/8 and 9/10: Work Periods

Nov 13/14: Peer Review (Rough draft due on OneNote before beginning of class)

November 17: Paragraph Due (Final draft due on OneNote)

LENGTH: 1 Paragraph

SOURCES:  World History Textbook, Library LibGuide

RESEARCH:       Students may use their textbook for this assignment.

 Students are required to use at least two different sources from the LibGuide.

CITATIONS: Chicago Style

TOPIC: Using the following prompt, write a thorough, organized, well developed, and well supported paragraph:
             Which of the civilizations in the Americas produced the greatest achievement?

For this assignment, consider the following approaches:

  • You may choose any region – Maya, Aztec, Inca
  • Your work should focus on which culture had the greatest achievement overall.  This should not be just a list of unconnected innovations. For instance, you might consider a theme of government, culture, science, or engineering. 


You must have 3 direct quotations. The direct quotations MAY NOT be long quotes, a sentence or two should be sufficient. You will be required to include properly formatted footnote citations in connection with your direct quotations.  One may be from your textbook, the other 2 must be from the LibGuide Sources.


  • FONT: 12 point/Times New Roman
  • Double-spaced
  • 1-inch margins all around the page (Normal setting)
  • Header: Name (Honorbound), Teacher, Class and Block, Date
  • Title centered on page
  • Optional - Header with page number if multiple pages

Students may not use resources outside of the libguide.



Paragraph contains a thesis sentence: _______ /2 points

The first sentence is a thesis sentence that contains the central idea of the paragraph. The thesis sentence makes an argument and is specific. The thesis sentence outlines the three main points of the paragraph.

Evidence:  _______ /6 points

The body of the paragraph uses three direct quotes to directly support the argument in the thesis sentence. Evidence is relevant and well-integrated into the paragraph.

Analysis:  _______ /9 points

The main argument from the thesis sentence is clearly and effectively woven into the paragraph. Analysis explains HOW the evidence and supporting details presented in the paragraph support and prove the main argument stated in the thesis sentence. Analysis demonstrates a firm understanding of the thesis and connects the evidence to the directly to the thesis.  

Writing is clear and logical:  ______ /2 points

Structure of the paragraph is clear and easy to follow for the reader. Relationship between points is clear and the ideas flow smoothly from one to another.

Conclusion: _______ /2 points

Concluding sentence summarizes the main argument and all main points presented in the paragraph.

Writing mechanics:  _______ /3 points

Writing incorporates the use of correct grammar, spelling, word choice, and sentence structure. Evidence is cited using correct Chicago Style footnotes.

Technical Requirements: _______/1 points

Student meets all outlined technical requirements, including length, margins, header, title, spacing.

_______ /25 points

Citation & Research Help

Electronic resources

Titles in the Library

Book an appointment with a Librarian

Do you have questions, need help, or feel lost? A librarian can help! Click on the link to schedule a quick session:

Meet with a Research Guru!