Incan Empire at Peace Montessori

The 4th through 8th grade students at Peace Montessori in New Haven completed and showed their class project on the Incan Empire. Students broke the project down into topics such as transportation, housing, defense, art, religion and others. Journal Gazette video by Chad Ryan.

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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
A student at Peace Montessori looks at a large poster of an ancient statue drawn by students in fourth through eighth grades for a project on the Incan empire.

Peace Montessori delves into ancient Inca culture

– Lisa Zimmermann was a bit baffled Friday when she learned the quipu was used for counting heads of animals.

“This is really cool,” the second-grader said, running her fingers across a Inca weaving display in the Peace Montessori classroom.

She thought for a moment before asking, “So, why are they counting the animals’ heads?”

Her older sister, Alina Zimmermann, explained the quipu was a tool Incas used for collecting data and keeping records, including tracking how many animals were in the herd, including llamas.

“They didn’t cut off the heads to count them,” Alina, a fifth-grader, said with a laugh.

Each year, Peace Montessori hosts an International Day when students create a series of projects about a country or culture to share with the com- munity.

This year, however, the snowy weather forced the school to cancel the program, leaving students disappointed, co-director Carrie Kile said.

“It’s something that we all look forward to every year,” Kile said.

But students in grades 4 through 8 were determined to share their knowledge about the Inca Empire anyway, she said.

The nine upper-level students converted their classroom into a miniature cultural center featuring projects about Inca clothing, food, weapons, culture and crafts.

On Friday, the students invited their younger classmates for an Inca-themed tour.

They told the kindergarten through third-grade classes about Inca transportation and houses and invited them to learn about how the women used a loom to make clothes.

Jack Little, 14, explained how his replica of an Inca house was similar to one that would have been shared by as many as 20 people.

“The inside wall would probably have been made of mud and stones and then they used grasses and stuff too,” Jack said.

Until they began researching the Inca culture, the students said they really didn’t know much about the Inca people.

“Now I know all about the Inca transportation,” Breanna Wells said.

Breanna, 15, explained how they used the chasqui for carrying messages and llamas and alpacas for transporting goods.

“But the strangest thing I learned was that they used to eat guinea pigs. That’s pretty weird,” Wells said.