Social Sundays: Discovery in China

China is a challenging topic for me.   I often feel like I am learning the material just ahead of the students and wish I knew more.  There just never seems to be enough time.  Instead, our journey through China is one of mutual inquiry and discovery.  We look at the cyclical nature of the 11,000 period of China we study as well as how similar cycles continue today.

Our topics include:
- Geography
- Religion
- Individual dynasties such as the Shang and the Qin dynasties
- Technological advances and inventions
- The Great Wall
- The silk road
- Art, writing and literature
- Entertainment, festivals and games

Some topics such as the geography, religion and inventions we explore through small group and station activities.  Other topics such as The Great Wall require students to research to complete graphic organizers in their notebooks.  

The bulk of the unit, though, comes through students discovering and teaching each other.  Three days into the unit students select a topic to research and present (You can read about student-centered projects here).  In addition to these research projects, students teach each other through a student-designed gallery walks and a collaborative newspaper scroll activity. We spend 2 weeks exploring, discovering, investigating and most importantly analyzing.

The final day of the unit students work in small groups to create a large graffiti that describes and shows the most striking take aways from the unit.  There are no right answers, but for anything that is presented students are required to justify its inclusion.  Along with their graffiti, each group includes a written analysis linking China's cycles to modern society. 

This is part of a series of posts on teaching topics in World History.  Topics include:

Social Sundays is a bi-weekly post sharing tips, ideas, resources, and products for teaching social studies.  If you have questions or think there is something I should share, you can leave me a message in the comments below or at the store in the question and answer section.  



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