Lesson 2.7: Social Studies Connection

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Lost City of Snakes

Drawing showing how a Mayan palace found in Cancuén might have looked.

This drawing shows how a Mayan palace found in Cancuén might have looked.

In 2000, scientists found a lost city. It had been hidden under jungle trees, plants, and vines. The city was built by the Maya people in Guatemala, a country in Central America. Scientists say the city is about 1,300 years old.

The city is called Cancuén (kahn-ku-WEN), which means "Place of Snakes." At the center is a palace with over 170 rooms. Cancuén, scientists say, was a rich city where people traded valuable goods.

Word Wise

House where someone who rules a country lives: The queen lives in the palace.

Land covered with many trees and plants: Many kinds of animals live in a jungle.

Exchange one thing for another thing: I traded my blue marker for Jamal's red marker.

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Make your own crossword puzzle! Start with 2 pieces of grid paper.

On one paper, use a pencil to write four words from the article, one letter to a grid box. Write the words so that they cross to form a puzzle. Then number the words, 1, 2, 3, and 4.

On the other paper, make an outline of your puzzle. Do not write the words in the outline. Just write the numbers. Write the meanings of the words below the outline. Give the outline to a classmate to solve.

Here is an example. This puzzle uses the words trees, plants, and vines.

Puzzle Solution.

Outlined puzzle.


  1. Tall, woody plants covered with bark


  1. Living things that are not animals
  2. Plants with long, thin stems that climb on something for support


Data Hunt

The Maya loved snakes. They used pictures of snakes in their art. Some of the snakes they drew had feathers and beards!

  • Find out about three kinds of snakes. Write the name of each one. If you find pictures of these snakes, draw them next to their names.
  • Write a math word problem about your three snakes. Your problem should have three numbers that have a sum of no more than 15.
  • Share your word problem with a classmate.