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Confucianism

Lesson IdeaThree-Character Classic (Sanzi Jing) [University of Maine]
From the 13th century on, the Three-Character Classic (Sanzi Jing) was a standard text memorized by Chinese children to learn proper behavior. This website includes the full text of the Sanzi Jing, along with an introduction, audio reading, translation, and annotations. Teachers might choose some of the four-line aphorisms from this classic text for upper elementary classes to learn and discuss.

Festivals

The Lunar New Year: Rituals and Legends [Asia for Educators]
This overview of the Lunar New Year in Chinese culture discusses the lunar calendar and various customs related to food, family, ancestors, and popular gods.

Lesson IdeaLunar New Year
Have students research and present the significance of the Kitchen God, Ancestors, red envelopes, oranges, firecrackers, and cleaning the classroom as they relate to the Lunar New Year. Students can also research and compare other important Chinese festivals, including the Lantern Festival, Dragon Boat Festival, Hungry Ghost Festival, and Mid-Autumn or Moon Festival, as well as Chinese festival foods.

Lesson Plan Animals of the Chinese Zodiac [EDSITEment, National Endowment for the Humanities]
For grades K-3. In this lesson plan, students will learn about the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. In the process, they will learn about Chinese culture, as well as improve reading, writing, and researching skills.

Lesson Plan Lions, Dragons, and Nian: Animals of the Chinese New Year [EDSITEment, National Endowment for the Humanities]
For grades K-3. In this lesson, students will study the differences between Eastern and Western dragons and discover why Eastern dragons are associated with the Chinese New Year. They will also learn about dragon dancers and lion dancers in the New Year’s parade and discover that firecrackers are set off to drive off evil spirits.

Lesson Plans Chinese Dragon: A Powerful Metaphor in Chinese Cultural History [Primary Source]
This curriculum unit includes several lessons, classroom activities, a slide show, as well as web and bibliographic links. It uses the motif of the dragon in Chinese folklore to discuss aspects of Chinese literature, mythology, and political history. This unit was designed by a librarian to be used by classroom teachers in cooperation with library-media specialists.

Choosing Names

Chinese Names [Asia for Educators]
A short study of Chinese naming conventions.

Exercise What’s in a Name? Chinese Rivers, Cities, and Provinces [Asia for Educators]
A translation exercise with the names of Chinese rivers, cities, and provinces.

Homes and Gardens

The Chinese Home [Asia for Educators]
Overview of a traditional Chinese home.

Yin Yu Tang: A Chinese Home [Peabody Essex Museum]
The Yin Yu Tang House is an exquisite example of traditional architecture from the Province of Anhui. The house was purchased in 1997 by the Peabody Essex Museum, dismantled by skilled Chinese craftsmen, and shipped piece by piece to its new home in Salem, Massachusetts. It was lived in continually by eight generations of the Huang family until 1980. The Yin Yu Tang House allows students to see an actual Chinese home, a unique primary source. On this website students will explore the house until they know its rooms, its furnishings, the family, and their daily lives. Creating a Family Tree of the Huang Family and a parallel timeline of the tumultuous events going on beyond walls of the Yin Yu Tang offers students a rich opprtunity to examine history through a primary source and a rich personal family history.

Houses and Gardens [Online Museum Resources on Asian Art, Asia for Educators]
A curated list of online museum resources on Asian houses and gardens.

Clothing: Design and Symbolism

Imperial Silks (of the Qing Dynasty) [Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
An overview, plus 14 related examples of court attire from the Manchu period, all with descriptions.

Rank and Style: Power Dressing in Imperial China [Pacific Asia Museum]
Includes a glossary of textile terms and symbols, a chronology, discussion questions, and a reading list.

Games

Asian Games: The Art of Contest [Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution]
A fun interactive website about games invented in Asia. Four types of games are presented: 1) Tossing & Turning; 2) War & Territory; 3) Power & Dexterity; 4) Memory & Matching.

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