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Maps & Mapping

Lesson IdeaJourney to China!
Have students make passports that will be stamped as they enter China. Then, on a large world map, students can plot their journey to China.

Basic Points of Interest on the Geography of East Asia [East Asia in Geographic Perspective, Asia for Educators]
Short overview. Part of a larger unit on East Asia’s Geography.

MapsOutline Maps of China [Asia for Educators]

MapsRecommended Wall and Desk Maps of East Asia [East Asia in Geographic Perspective, Asia for Educators]

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.

Lesson PlanMapping Perceptions [Asia Society]
For grades 3-5. In this lesson plan students map their own neighborhoods and describe what is and is not included on a map. They then look at historical and contemporary maps (of China, in this case) and compare and contrast the use of scale, orientation, etc. with their own maps to understand how to read and utilize different types of maps.

VideoChina Through Mapping [Social Studies in Action: A Teaching Practices Library, Annenberg Learner]
Social Studies in Action is a free online video library that “documents 24 teachers and their students in K-12 classrooms across the country actively exploring social studies.” In this lesson, a teacher from Solano Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona, teaches her second-grade students about China’s position on the globe and the location of important landmarks within the country.

GameThe China Game [Asia Society]
Based on a board game created at the University of Vermont, this interactive trivia-type flash game has students answer questions about Chinese history and geography to “race” a dragon from the city of Harbin in the east to Urumqi in the west.

PuzzleMap Puzzle: Map the Regions of China [Asia Society]
“Can you piece China together?” In this interactive puzzle, students learn about the distinguishing features of China’s nine major geographical regions as they try to drag-and-drop each region into its actual location on a map of China.

MapExplore China [Asia Society]
An illustration-type map showing major cities, rivers, and other geographical features, as well as the location of famous attractions, such as the Great Wall and the Giant Panda.

Rice Production

Lesson IdeaRice Cultivation
Have students research and discuss the stages of rice cultivation and compare wet-rice and dry-rice techniques. Discuss how climate determines which crops are grown around the world.

Lesson PlanThe Rhythm of Rice Production [National Geographic]
For grades K-2. Students will explore the importance of rice in Asian communities. They will then learn about the “rhythm” of rice production as they are introduced to its growing cycle. Finally, students will create seasonal images of rice cultivation in a calendar format.

Seeing China

Lesson PlanLife on the Rivers of Asia [National Geographic]
For grades K-2. Looking at the lives of people living along the Chang Jiang (Yangzi or Yangtze River) in China, as well as the Ganges in India, and the Mekong in Southeast Asia, students will gain insights into the profound influence of rivers within the regions through which they flow.

Lesson PlanCity or Country Life? [National Geographic]
For grades 3-5. Although students often think of Asia as undeveloped and rural, some of the world’s largest and most dynamic cities are located there. With this lesson plan, students will come to better determine what is “urban” and what is “rural.” Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, and Hong Kong are examined, as are villages in East Asia’s agricultural areas.

Lesson PlanNomads: Where Boundaries Move [National Geographic]
For grades 3-5. This exercise explores the way humans have adapted to regions that do not sustain communities through agriculture and the influence this has on how they live and view the boundaries of their home.

ImagesPhotographs of China for the Classroom [Asia for Educators]

Food and Geography

Ordering a Chinese Meal [Asia for Educators]
An opportunity for students to explore the relationship between diet and geography.

Food and Geography [Asia for Educators]
Short reading and questions for discussion about different Chinese food regions.

Lesson IdeaChopsticks
Have students practice using chopsticks. Disposable chopsticks wrapped in paper are available from any Chinese restaurant with a takeout order of dishes students can try. Discuss what countries use chopsticks as eating utensils. [Answer: China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam — the countries that form the East Asian cultural sphere. They also share Confucian thought, Buddhism, and the use of Chinese characters at some point in their histories.] Note that in many other countries of South, Southeast, and West Asia the custom is to eat with one hand, often using breads to scoop food.

Lesson PlanMarketplaces of Asia [National Geographic]
For grades 3-5. By virtually visiting a mall in Seoul, a night market in Hong Kong, the Sunday Market in Kashi (China), a bazaar in Samarqand (Uzbekistan), and a street market in Beijing, students are able to understand the human and physical characteristics of “markets” and “marketplaces” in Asian culture.

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© 2009 Asia for Educators, Columbia University | http://afe.easia.columbia.edu