This unit covers China from its first civilizations through the Ming Dynasty. It also discusses Chinese philosophies, the Silk Roads, and the Mongol Empire.
Ancient China unit contains 8 learning experiences.
Learning Experiences (Lessons) in Ancient China Each learning experience takes about 45 minutes to teach in the device-enabled classroom.
Ancient China: Geography and Environment
Students study the geography of ancient China by reading some engaging facts. Then, they explore its geographical features, such as rivers, mountains, deserts, climate, and population. Next, they describe and explain the natural barriers that kept China isolated for centuries. Finally, they learn about the Great Wall of China in text and visuals, and they write a paragraph about the wall from the point of view of an ancient guard there.
China’s First Civilizations
Students explore the first three dynasties of ancient China in chronological order‚ÄîXia, Shang, and Zhou. Xia‚Äôs status as semi-mythical is introduced. Then students research the difference between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, a transition that occurred during the Zhou Dynasty. Finally, they examine the concept of the Mandate of Heaven and discuss its positive and negative aspects.
Philosophy and Its Influence: Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism
Students encounter three of the most important philosophies that contributed to the shaping of ancient Chinese society: Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism, represented by Confucius, Laozi, and Han Fei Zi respectively. After immersing themselves in the philosophies through print and video sources, students work in small groups to report on comparisons and contrasts among the three. Then they analyze a tale about the childhood of the Confucian philosopher Mencius, illustrating Confucian attitudes toward women and parenting.
Qin and Han Dynasties
Students learn about the Qin and Han Dynasties. Then, they compare the two and give a preference, justifying their choice. Finally, they analyze the concept of the Dynastic Cycle.
The Silk Roads
Students are introduced to the ancient Silk Roads with an array of stunning photos from the National Geographic website. Then, they explore print and video sources to learn what the Silk Roads were and how the roads contributed to the development of civilizations, both Asian and European. Then they learn the story of Marco Polo.
Reunification: Sui, Tang, and Song Dynasties
Students begin by viewing photos of the Grand Canal, a massive achievement of medieval China. Then they explore the Sui, Tang, and Song Dynasties. Next, they work in small groups to report on various aspects of ordinary life during ancient or medieval China. Finally, they read a primary source‚Äîa Tang emperor‚Äôs musings on what makes a good ruler‚Äîand give reasons why they agree or disagree with the author.
Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire
Students follow the path of the Mongol Empire from its origins as a horde of loosely aligned cavalry on the steppes of Asia, to its expansion throughout Asia and into Europe and the Middle East, to its decline and collapse after about a century. They study and explain the contributions of the Mongols to Chinese and Asian history. Finally, they assess Genghis Khan‚Äôs attributes as a ruler.
Ming Dynasty and Beyond
Students enter the Ming Dynasty through the gates of the Forbidden City in the first scene. Then, they explore more details of the dynasty‚Äôs history, including its brief attempts to explore the world beyond the seas. Next, they examine the Ming policy of isolationism and its causes and effects. Finally, they survey China‚Äôs final dynasty, the Qing, and write about an important Ming or Qing figure of their choice.