Ancient China Lesson Plans: Theme Park

1. STARTER

Prior to undertaking this exercise, the students should have first been introduced to the broad outlines of the history of Ancient China. An effective way of doing this is using the Timemaps Dynamic History Map of Ancient China as a presentation, on a whiteboard. The class can then go straight into this activity.

The aims of the activity are to fill out their knowledge of Ancient China in an engaging way. They will learn that the history of Ancient China is not just one undifferentiated lump, but can be divided into different periods, each with its own specific characteristics, and that it contains many themes.

To gain the information they need to complete the task, students can use the Timemaps Dynamic History Map of Ancient China as their primary research tool, using other sources (library books, websites) if and when they wish to delve deeper into a particular topic.

The students’ page for this activity is here.

2. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

Aims:

a) Knowledge of Ancient Chinese history

b) Persuasive writing

Objectives:

Students will

a) find out about and reinforce their knowledge of Ancient Chinese history

b) discover that it is divided into different periods, each with its distinct characteristics

c) recognize that parallel developments took place within Ancient China, in technology, society, culture and religion, and that these developments were interrelated

d) research the subject using the Timemaps Dynamic Map of Ancient China and other sources

e) write a brochure or prepare a presentation based upon this research

3. THE ACTIVITY

1. Designing the Attraction

Working in pairs, the students design a visitor attraction based on the theme of Ancient China. The attraction should be made up of at least five pavilions, each devoted to a particular topic – the different periods into which China’s ancient history is traditionally divided, perhaps, or maybe themes such as religion and ideas, technology, society, warfare and so on.

The layout of the park should be given attention. For example, if the pavilions relate to different time periods within ancient Chinese history, the visitor should be led to them in chronological order. Also, consideration should be given to making the park beautiful or interesting by the addition of lakes, canals, trees, copies of Chinese temples, palaces and other constructions, and so on.

Each pavilion should be designed in outline: what are the different sections within it? What does each contain by way of pictures, information, artefacts?

The pavillion buildings themselves might be described – do they look like a temple? a palaces? a city gates? a sections of the Great Wall?

Other facilities shouldn’t be forgotten – toilets, restaurants, car park, shops; nor even the souvenirs to be sold – mugs, T-shirts, towels, toys & models, mouse mats, caps etc – and the designs on them.

2. The Production

Based on this work, students produce

EITHER (a) a 6-panel folded brochure advertising the park,

OR (b) a Powerpoint/Prezi/other presentation which pitches the design of the park to business or civic leaders.

(a) The Brochure

The idea of the brochure is to advertise the attraction, and make people want to come and visit it. It should include

The name of the Attraction and the Attraction’s logo

A brief statement of its purpose (what will the visitor get out of going to it?)

A map of the park

A brief description of each pavilion

A brief list of the other facilities

(b) The Presentation

The idea of the presentation is to try and persuade business or civic leaders to adopt your design of the park. The presentation should include:

The name of the Attraction and the Attraction’s logo

A brief statement of its purpose (what will the visitor get out of going to it? How will the investors and community benefit?)

A map of the park

A brief description of each pavilion

A brief list of the other facilities

3. Criteria for Evaluation

We suggest the Brochure or Presentation might be evaluated as follows:

0-4: Poor: little or no evidence of effort or research; the production is rushed or completely inadequate.

5-6: Satisfactory: Evidence of research; an adequate, clear production, showing knowledge of the subject.

7-8: Good: Effort and imagination has gone into the production, and it is based on sound knowledge of the historical subject matter.

9-10: Excellent: A lot of enthusiasm, effort and imagination has gone into this work, and it is based on sound and extensive knowledge of the historical subject matter based on much research.

4. CONCLUSION

The teacher ends the activity with a review of the subject. A good way to do this might be to use the Dynamic History Map on a whiteboard as a presentation, but now asking the class what’s going on in each map and relating it to their design of the Attraction.

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