Curriculum Alignment

The Legacy of Ancient China:

Inventions, Innovations, and Other Contributions

Research Process

Directions to Students

  Scenario

Each year your middle school's Multicultural Committee sponsors a Cultural Fair. This year, the committee has decided to focus on China, and your grade's responsibility is Ancient China.

Because Ancient Chinese history comprises almost 11,000 years, your class has been asked to create displays which highlight the dynasties from the Ch'in or Qin (221-207 B.C.) to the Yuan or Mongol (1271-1368) dynasties. For a better understanding of exactly what a dynasty is, read this brief overview.

To convey the importance of Chinese contributions to the world to your audience, your group will concentrate on the inventions and unique cultural bequests of a particular dynasty. The key concept that you are asked to convey through your display is:

What were the important contributions from Ancient Chinese dynasties and
how did these contributions influence European and Asian culture?

Task and Product

 

 

Before choosing a dynasty, you may want to read an overview describing each of the dynasties from the Ch'in or Qin (221-207 B.C.) to the Yuan or Mongol (1271-1368). You may also want to browse through some of the links related to their achievements.

Next, choose one of these dynasties for your research. You and other members of your group will become specialists in this period in order to be able to inform your audience about Chinese contributions to the world from this time period. You will then create an effective display to convey that information to your audience.

In order to become a specialist about the contributions of your dynasty, you will need to answer the following questions:

  • What was unique about this dynasty?
  • What was the history of this dynasty? How did it expand?
  • What were the major achievements in China during this time?
  • What inventions were created during this time period?
  • How did Chinese culture change as a result of these inventions and/or this dynasty?
  • How did this dynasty and its inventions influence European and Asian cultures and eventually the rest of the world?

After completing your research, you will use your findings to create one of the following products for your display:

  • pamphlet
  • poster
  • multimedia presentation (e.g. PowerPoint)
  • web page
  • other products as approved by your teacher

Assessments


You will be graded on your daily work on the research process as well as on your final product.

Question


Essential Question:

What were the important contributions from Ancient Chinese dynasties and
how did these contributions influence European and Asian culture?

Subsidiary questions

  • What was unique about this dynasty?
  • What was the history of this dynasty? How did it expand?
  • What were the major achievements in China during this time?
  • What inventions were created during this time period?
  • How did Chinese culture change as a result of these inventions and/or this dynasty?
  • How did this dynasty and its inventions influence European and Asian cultures and eventually the rest of the world?

Jump start your thinking! Here are some sample questions for each topic; think of some more that fit your topic. A graphic organizer may be helpful to brainstorm questions and to plan research.

  • How did this dynasty come to power?
  • What did this dynasty accomplish?
  • Who were the important people of this time and what influence did they have on the culture?
  • How was daily life for the Chinese people affected by this dynasty?
  • How was the religious life of the people affected?
  • What were the significant inventions of the time?
  • How was trade affected by this dynasty?
  • How and why did this dynasty come to an end?

Organizational Helps

Gather and Sort


 Gather information from a variety of sources.

Sort your findings using a graphic organizer when taking notes or follow the notetaking format suggested by your teacher. Click here for possible ideas for a graphic organizer format for your notes.

Remember to cite your references. Check the MLA guidelines and examples for citing resources; however, your school may use a different format.



To avoid plagiarism, properly paraphrase and quote when taking notes. Use this site to help you to avoid plagiarism.

Organize


Analyze your research notes to determine if you have answered your part of the essential question.

What were the important contributions from Ancient Chinese dynasties and
and how did these contributions influence European and Asian culture?

Synthesize your findings by creating a first draft of your product.

  • What new insights have emerged about your topics?
  • Which facts are the most compelling and would have the greatest impact on your audience?

Evaluate the effectiveness of your research for the task using

  • Have you gathered sufficient details about your topic?
  • Are your details organized in the right categories or sub-topics to make sense for your audience?
  • Are you ready to create your product?

Conclusion

 

Presentation

Share with your group of experts - the other students in your class who researched the same dynasty, subtopics, and questions.

Plan your display for the Multicultural Fair with other student "experts" in your class who researched the same topic. When planning your display, be sure to include the products of all members of the group and a time for each group member to present his or her work.

As a visitor to the fair, you will also need to gather information from other student displays about the dynasty you did not personally research. You will need these notes in order to write your final essay.

Reflection

After visiting the fair, consider all of the dynasties and their contributions to the world. Write an essay in which you cite the dynasty which you believe had the greatest impact on the world or on your personal life. Be sure to include at least three contributions from that dynasty and examples of their impact on the world in your response.

Scoring Tool for Brief Constructed Response

Last update: February 2006
Created by Joyce Caldwell and Phyllis Fullem, Library Media Specialists, BCPS Summer Curriculum Development Workshops, July 2001
BCPS Research Module, Copyright 2001, Baltimore County Public Schools, Copyright information