Teaching Module

Ancient China

Lesson Plan: Ancient China

by Jessica Hodgson

Time Estimated: three 50-minute classes

Prior Knowledge
Students will need to have an understanding of Confucian values in order to complete this lesson.

Objectives

  1. Analyze the role that education and Confucian values play in childhood in Ancient China.
  2. Compare the educational opportunities available to girls and boys in Ancient China.
  3. Analyze how these differences demonstrate Confucian values.

Day One

Warm Up: The American Education System
Students will think about and answer some questions about their education. They will then share those answers out with the class.

Brainstorm
Students will brainstorm a list of Confucian ideals as a class.

Document Analysis
Divide the students into pairs and assign each pair one of the documents to read. They should complete the document analysis sheet. Using what they have learned from their document, they should identify specific quotes from the documents that demonstrate how education reflects Confucian values. They will then share what they have learned from the document with the rest of the class. Other students will record the responses on additional document analysis sheets.

Day Two

Poster Activity
Using the documents, students will work in groups of 3 to create posters. Divide the groups and randomly assign the students a topic for their poster (either a poster that is an advertisement for a girls' school in Ancient China or a poster that is an advertisement for a boys' school in Ancient China)

The posters should meet the following criteria:

  • The title/name of the school
  • A slogan that would make someone want to go to the school
  • At least two neat and colorful illustrations that show what kinds of lessons someone would be taught in the school

Students will share their posters with the class

Homework
For homework, students will prepare for a Socratic Seminar.

Day Three: Socratic Seminar

Students will participate in a Socratic Seminar in which they will discuss the following questions:

  • What seems to be the purpose of the American education system? How do you know? (Give examples)
  • What seems to be the purpose of the Ancient Chinese education system? How do you know? (Give examples)
  • Why are educational systems necessary?
  • How do governments use educational systems to further their goals for the country?

Directions for a Socratic Seminar

  • Understand the question(s) for the seminar.
  • Read the source(s).
  • Take notes from the sources to help you answer the question(s).
  • Comment about one of the following (5 pts.)
    1. information in the sources
    2. validity of evidence used by the author(s)
    3. the strength of the argument (thesis)
    4. to respond to a question asked by someone else
    5. to respond to a comment made by someone else
  • Ask a question about one of the following (5 pts.)
    1. information in the sources, e.g., vocabulary
    2. validity of evidence used by the author(s)
    3. the strength of the argument (thesis)
    4. to respond to a question asked by someone else
    5. to respond to a comment made by someone else

Maximum of 10 points per student.

How to Cite This Source

Anne Kinney, "Ancient China," in Children and Youth in History, Item #187, http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/teaching-modules/187 (accessed April 19, 2014).