China (first part of unit 4)

By , November 16, 2011 11:49 pm

China Mini-Unit

Please note that the China Quiz is on Mon. Dec. 3. (closed book). 10-15 multiple choice questions, 1 short written question.


Fri. Nov. 22: Intro and Themes


Students had to identify themes in Chinese history.

  • stability
  • isolation
  • innovation
  • centralization
  • patriarchy
  • education
  • multiple belief systems


HW: Read pages 333-335 and take notes on:

  • Lack of unity in E.  Zhou dynasty
  • Competition leading to military and agricultural improvements
  • Confucius: ren, learning and practice (filial piety, rectification of names, courtesy)
  • Taoism

Confucianism websites:

Confucianism (Asia Society)

Why is Confucius Still Relevant Today (National Geographic)

Warring States Period (Khan Academy article)


Mon. Nov. 25: Confucianism, Taoism, Legalism

  1. Identify what is at the centre of the Taoism and Confucianism circles on your handout page:
  • one is nature, one is stability. Which is for Confucianism?


2. Practice differentiating between Taoism and  Confucianism using the mixed quotes below.

Mixed Confucian and Taoist Quotes

3. Which aspects of Taoism or Confucianism could be useful in  today’s society?

  • we talked about need for stress relief through meditation in Taoism
  • caring about the good of the world in Confucianism

4. Another way, that rejected both Confucianism and Taoism, was legalism. The First Emperor was highly influenced by Legalistic thought that emphasized strict laws and harsh punishments to achieve order/obedience/stability.

  • We discussed whether the end (goal) justifies the means (methods).

To learn more about Confucianism and  Taoism:

Watch excerpts from Bettany Hughes – Genius of the Ancient World – Confucius



Watch Taoism: Opening Dao (23 mins)

Daoism (Asia Society, reading)

Daoism and Daoist Art Essay (Metropolitan Museum of Art)



CHW3M Confucian Quotes

CHW 3M Taoist Quotes from Lao Tzu


HW: Take notes on first emperor from pages 337 – 341 – use a T chart to record good actions and bad actions.


Tues. Nov. 26: The First Emperor

Take notes on first emperor from pages 337 – 341 – use a T chart to record good actions and bad actions (and for whom).

We practiced putting these actions on a timeline with attitude.

Themes for Progress:

  • centralization
  • standardization
  • unification

Themes for Decline: 

  • control
  • oppression
  • assimilation?

CCA Step 2 due tomorrow.


The Terracotta Warriors – National Geographic (YouTube, 4:10)


Wed. Nov. 27: From Qin to Han/Tang/Song Dynasties – how much continuity?

What were the unique features of these three dynasties?

Re-name the dynasty activity winners

Han: the foundation of China’s continuous prosperity

Tan: China’s tale of neverland

Song: revival era


To what extent did the First Emperor lay down the path for future Chinese dynasties?

CHW3M Chinese Dynasties after the Qin Empire (notes from textbook on Han, Tang, Song)

(chart on similarities and differences from Qin to Han/Tang/Song)

  • use textbook notes (in your handouts) to fill in the chart



The Terracotta Warriors – National Geographic (YouTube)


Thurs. Nov.  28: Making Connections Between Topics

Excerpts from Emperor Taizong on Effective Government

What connections can you find between today’s PSD and Confucianism, Taoism, First Emperor, stability, dynastic cycle.

Dynastic Cycle = Mandate of Heaven (mandate = the perceived right to do something, this case, rule)


Fri. Nov. 29: Foreign Relations and China after the First Emperor

Advantages and Disadvantages of Foreign  Contact (generally, when one culture comes into contact with another culture)


  • trade
  • diversity
  • expansion of territory
  • new technology


  • conflict
  • invasions
  • loss of resources
  • cultural influences
  • economic domination


Prepare for Monday’s Quiz  (closed book) that will cover everything we did on China so far:

  • ppt overview and themes (see first lesson)
  • E. Zhou dynasty
  • Taoism, Confucianism
  • Legalism and the First Emperor (Qin)
  • Continuities and Changes from the  Qin to Han, Tang, Song dynasties
  • Emperor Taizong PSD
  • Dynastic Cycle (Mandate of Heaven)
  • China’s Foreign Contact up to end of first page

Fill in Chart on Foreign Contact up to end of first page only.Foreign contact – check your chart against these categories: CHW3M_China_Foreign_Contact_Adv_Disadv


Mon. Dec. 2: China Quiz

Please go to Middle Ages page.


Tues. Jan. 15: Continuation of Chinese Foreign Contact Chart page 2

Review of page 1 of foreign contact chart: many economic, cultural and political advantages of foreign contact.

Feel free to look at Mongols:  CHW3M_Mongols_Dec_2015

Note who benefited from (or was unaffected by) Mongol rule (the Yuan Dynasty), and who suffered. Note that there were unintended consequences of Mongol rule of China.

Know your order of dynasties – see timeline in your handouts (sideways facing page on the back of Taoism/Confucianism circles page)


Wed. Jan. 16Ming Dynasty – Attitude Toward Foreign Contact

Chinese rebelled against the Mongols and installed their own dynasty. How would they feel about foreign contact after 200 years of Mongol rule?

What was China like under the Ming?

China was exporting a lot via land and sea (silk and porcelain being the two biggest trade items at this time).

It was mostly a time of political stability with powerful emperors advised by those who had risen through the ranks of the examination system (based on knowledge of the Confucian classics). Wealthy local families (the gentry) tried to help the ordinary people.

It was a time of artistic flourishing echoing back to the Song dynasty. Probably most well known was the calibre of porcelain at this time – durable and fine.

For a time it sent out huge sea-based expeditions under Admiral Zheng He.

Overall, China was very wealthy and dominant in the world. After two centuries of foreign rule, they had come to believe that only “change within tradition” was good. Would this stop them from advancing?


Zheng He’s voyages from Engineering an Empire.

Ancient Chinese Explorers (Nova)


Thurs. Jan. 17: Ming Attitude of Superiority

The Mandate of Heaven. This was a very old concept that pre-dated the Ming Dynasty. See the Dynastic Cycle in your handouts on the back of the Taoism/Confucianism circles page. The cycle starts and ends with the new or old emperor either receiving or losing the Mandate of Heaven.

The Ming dynasty’s worldview. Look at your diagram of concentric circles with China at the centre. Those that were closest to the centre had the most similar way of life, such as Korea and Vietnam because they had been influenced by Confucianism. Those farther out on the circles were dissimilar in way of life, such as Mongols (who had invaded China earlier) and Europeans.

The Chinese worldview can be related to their feeling of superiority: Chinese_Superiority_Quotes. Please note how the quotes relate to the Mandate of Heaven.

When Europeans started coming to China they were seen in two lights:

  1. ordinary traders who found that China didn’t want to trade with them, and therefore started to steal/pirate – they were seen as “ocean devils” – on the outside of the circles
  2. Jesuit missionaries were appreciated at the court because of their new innovations that the Chinese liked, such as mechanical clocks, some astronomical advances, and others.


Fri. Jan. 18: Women in China

Is it fair to compare footbinding in ancient China to plastic surgery such as the “mommy makeover” in modern Canada? We decided to use these criteria to determine:

  • pain factor
  • age at which done
  • voluntary or not
  • whose motivation
  • consequences if not done

In the end, most students felt it was an unfair comparison. But we did discuss how social norms are different in Canada because there are so many more choices in today’s society, whereas in ancient China women probably didn’t have many choices.

We talked about the Confucian hierarchy within the family and how Confucian education generally didn’t get taught to girls and women. Generally, China, like most other ancient civs, was patriarchal.

Introduction to the controversy of footbinding:


Interesting article on footbinding. Here’s a newer interpretation of footbinding.


Mon. Jan. 21: Exam format preview.




The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army – ROM  (YouTube)

The Terracotta Warriors – National Geographic (YouTube, 4:10)

China’s Warrior King- National Geographic (YouTube, 3:40)


Resources for Rise of Chinese Civ (didn’t use 2015-16)

Chinese Dynasties timeline (Asia for Educators)

Early China and the Shang Dynasty (Asia for Educators)

Timeline of Chinese Inventions (Asia for Educators)

Writing (Ancient China – British Museum)

Chinese Calligraphy (Metropolitan Museum)


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