Social Studies Ideas:
Mulan - Introduction to the Social Studies Unit
I always use Mulan to introduce the Ancient China unit. It helps them access some background knowledge they might already have.
Here is my assignment sheet:
Mulan Video Activity
Okay, modern or ancient, you have to do a map and talk about the geography of China.
Here are some suggested lesson ideas.
Geography Inquiry using Essential Questions
How does geography, climate and natural resources affect the way people work and live?
What makes places unique and different?
Go throght the Inquiry Process
Wonder - the essential questions
Investigate the topic (China's geography)
Construct new meaning (refer back to original questions)
Express your learning
Reflect write new questions
connect to other knowledge
Jig Saw Inquiry - different countries, different civilizations
Ancient / Modern Time-line
When creating the ancient / modern time-line, you will need to get together some easy reading material.
I like to show this Simple Time-line from Time for Kids. It highlights All the major periods / event in time. I also like to share the BBC's China Profile. It highlights all key events as well. This is a good place for teachers to start as well, to get the scope of Chinese history. I use this as my go to resource for 'giving' students the very modern portions of the time line - "The Republic" and "Communism". Of course, the Communist section can be sub-divided if you wish. I do a section on Mao and then Post-Mao.
I strongly suggest using Mr. Donn's site for the Ancient Portion. The only hard part is the Shang and Zhou (Chou) dynasty are squished together on his site. So I would also suggest supplementing with History for Kids. I use the form I created in the style of Cornell Notes. They then use their notes to create a very simple time line without dates. Just an organizing of key periods in Chinese history with a fact or two.
Note Taking Form
Ancient China outline
Ancient to Modern China outline
Modern China - Intro Activity
Compare and Contrast a day in the life.
Use Day in the Life: China on the TIme for Kids website.
Before you show them
If It were My Home - Visit this website to compare how their life would be different through mini facts.
"If China were your home (instead of Canada) you die 6.78 years sooner"
or "use 83.72% less electricity"
Very cool! The site has the sources and also a reccomended list of books to read about China.
This video on National Geographic Kids is awesome!
Three Gorges Dam
The perfect way to combine Social Studies and Science.
Background Knowledge in Electricity, Renewable vs. Non Renewable Energy Sources, and Pollution Sources is recommended.
Three Gorges Dam - Mini Unit -
ABC Booklet Project
The ABC project for Ancient China was a real success in my classroom this year! Check out my blog for more great photos!
Here are copies of my two ABC projects for China. The first is just Ancient China and the second is a combo Ancient/Modern project - perfect for the 6/7 split, beautifully addressing learning outcomes for both grade levels.
Ancient China ABC Project
Ancient / Modern ABC Project
Language Arts Ideas:
There are many great short stories about China
A few of my favourites include:
Yeh-shen (Cinderella) retold by Ai-Ling Louie
Lon Po Po (Red Riding Hood) by Ed Young
The Empty Pot by Demi
Eyes of the Dragon – By Margaret Leaf / Ed Young
The Seven Chinese Brothers – by Margaret Mahy
The Stonecutter – by Demi
Rat and Cat: The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac – Ed Young
All the books I have suggested also provide an excellent opportunity to work in groups and create Reader’s Theatre’s presentations
Fairy Tales Comparison - Inquiry - the following link is a detailed plan to use cutural fairy takes to complete an inquiry that uses the following essential questions to guide their learning:
How do different cultures shape the definitions of good and evil?
What is the role of a hero or “sheroe” (coined by Maya Angelou) in a culture?
What is the relevance of a fairy tale to today’s society?
How have fairy tales opened our eyes to other cultures?
Mao and Me - Chen Jiang Hong
Propaganda - Perfect anchor book for Literature Circles on Communism. Fantastic book to read and have students learn about Propaganda. Read them the book and have them pose questions they have and lead them off on an Inquiry Journey.
Critical Thinking, Different Governemnts.
Novel Study -