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FC: The Inca Empire


12 lessons that answer the standards as well as the framing and supporting questions

Grade: 5th Grade

Weeks: 2.5

Pages: 98

Standards: 5.1 - 5.8, 5.13, 5.13a, 5.13d, 5.13i, 5.13j

File Type: pdf

Slide Deck Included: Yes

In stock

Product SKU: PEDFC541


The Inca Empire, called Tawantinsuyu by its subjects, (Quechua for the “Realm of the Four Parts”) was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political, and military center of the empire was in the city of Cusco. The Inca civilization arose from the Peruvian highlands sometime in the early 13th century. From 1438 to 1533, the Incas incorporated a large portion of western South America, centered on the Andean Mountains, using conquest and peaceful assimilation, among other methods. At its largest, the empire joined modern-day Peru, what is now western Ecuador, western and south central Bolivia, northwest Argentina, the southwestern most tip of Colombia, and a large portion of modern-day Chile into a state comparable to the historical empires of Eurasia. Its official language was Quechua.

The Inca Empire was unique in that it lacked many of the features associated with civilization in the Old World. The Incas were able to construct one of the greatest imperial states in human history without the use of the wheel, draft animals, knowledge of iron or steel, or even a system of writing. Notable features of the Inca Empire included its monumental architecture, especially stonework, extensive road network reaching all corners of the empire, finely-woven textiles, use of knotted strings (quipu) for record-keeping and communication, agricultural innovations and production in a difficult environment, and the organization and management fostered or imposed on its people and their labor.

The Inca Empire functioned largely without money and without markets. Instead, the exchange of goods and services was based on reciprocity between individuals and among individuals, groups, and Inca rulers. “Taxes” consisted of a labor obligation of a person to the Empire. The Inca rulers (who theoretically owned all the means of production) reciprocated by granting access to land and goods and providing food and drink in celebratory feasts for their subjects. 

Many local forms of worship persisted in the empire, but the Inca leadership encouraged the sun worship of Inti, their sun god. The Incas considered their king, the Sapa Inca, to be the “son of the sun.”

12 lessons that answer the standards as well as the framing and supporting questions

Lessons are developed using all the sources and readings that are in the social studies course frameworks provided by the Louisiana Department of Education.

What does it include?

  1. Detailed lesson plans aligned with the standards and frameworks
  2. Activities that include all the materials provided in the frameworks
  3. Assessments aligned with the new LDOE field test
  4. Lesson activity workbook/worksheets
  5. Slide deck


  • 5.13 Describe the geographic, political, economic, and cultural structures of Indigenous civilizations of the Americas.
  • 5.13a Identify and locate the geographic features of the Americas, including the Andes Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, Great Plains, Pacific Ocean Mountains, Gulf of Mexico, Rocky Mountains, Atlantic Ocean, Mississippi River, Amazon River, South America, Caribbean Sea, North America, Yucatan Peninsula, and the Central Mexican Plateau.
  • 5.13b Explain the effects of geographic features on Indigenous North American cultures (Northeast, Southeast, and Plains), including clothing, housing, and agriculture.
  • 5.13d. Explain the effects of geographic features and climate on the agricultural practices and settlement of the Aztec and Incan civilizations.
  • 5.13i. Explain how the Inca built and organized their empire and how Inca engineers overcame challenges presented by the geography of the land.
  • 5.13j. Explain how the Inca kept their empire together without a written language.

Framing Question

 How did the Inca adapt to challenges posed by their environment? 

Supporting Questions

  1. How did geography influence the development of the Inca?
  2. How did the Inca use technology to manage and grow their empire?
  3. Why were roads important to the Inca people?
  4. How did the Inca organize their society?



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