China -- School-age


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Do not want others to know what you have done?
Better not have done it anyways.
-Chinese Proverb

I Hear, and I Forget
I See, and I Remember
I Do, and I Understand
-Chinese Proverb
Click to print the above Chinese Proverb

China's History

There are 4 periods of importance in China's history:

The Origins of Chinese Civilization (2200 - 221 BCE)

Hsia (2200-1766 BCE)
Shang (1766-1040 BCE)

Advances during the Shang dynasty: Invention of bronze (Beginning of the Bronze Age 1600BCE) and oracle bones. Bronze is still used today.

Chou (Zhou) (1100 BCE-221 BCE)
The Zhou dynasty ruled in China longer than any other.
The Zhou dynasty gave birth to a golden age of philosophy.

Taoism and Confucianism both developed during the Zhou reign. According to legend, Taoism was founded by a man named Lao-tzu (Lao Zi), who was born around 604 BCE.

The Early Empire (221 BCE - 589 CE)

Ch'in (Qin) (221BCE-206 BCE)
During the Qin dynasty, all of China was united and the Great Wall of China was begun.

Qin Shihuangti was the first emperor of China. In 1974, Emperor Qin Shihuang's tomb was discovered, it included 6,000 terra cotta army figures. Qin Shi Huang, the emperor who founded the Qin Dynasty.

The building of the Great Wall of China begins. It is designed to keep out a destitute and starving people, the nomadic Hsiung Nu.

China Terra Cotta Army Figures


Han (206 BCE-220 C.E.)
The Han dynasty was known for conquering new lands and expanding trade.

The Han dynasty fell in C.E. 220. But even today, people in China call themselves "Han people" in honor of this time of accomplishment.

Han accomplishments included:

Chinese scientists created the world's first compass and the first simple seismograph, or earthquake detector.

There were many earthquakes during the Han Dynasty so they invented a seismograph. The urn-like Houfeng Seismograph was invented by Zhang Heng.

Houfeng Seismograph
Replica of Zhang Heng's

The seismograph was an ornamental vessel of cast bronze, consisting of eight dragons facing outward in a circle. Each dragon gingerly held a ball in its jaws.

The instrument was designed so that any seismic tremor would cause the ball to fall from the jaws of the dragon facing the direction of the tremor. The ball fell in the direction that the earthquake was coming from so it also told the people which way the earthquake was.

Many kinds of medicine, including acupuncture and the use of herbs. Advances in engineering and mathematics. The invention of paper, exceptional works of art and writing.
Tsai Lun is created with the inventor of paper.
Porcelain and the world's first wheelbarrow.

50-70 CE Buddhism arrives in China around this time.

The Second Empire (589 CE - 1644 CE)

Sui (589CE-618 CE)

Tang (618CE-907 CE)
Empress Wu Zetian (only female empress)

Song (960CE-1279CE)
During the Song Dynasty numerous things were invented. The Sond Dynasty is sometimes referred to as China's Age of Invention.

The Mongolian Empire (1206 CE –1368 CE) was perhaps the largest empire in human history in terms of geographical expanse. It extended west to east from Poland to Siberia, and north to south from Moscow to the Arabian peninsula and Siberia to Vietnam.

The Yuan was the shortest lived of the major dynasties.

Yuan (Mongol) (1279 CE -1368CE)

Ming (1368 CE -1644CE)

Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan

The achievements of Genghis Khan were grandiose. He united all the Mongolian nomadic tribes and united the nomadic tribes in a disciplined military state. Genghis Khan led his united Mongol hordes out of Mongolia to create an empire unequaled in land area even by Alexander the Great.

The destruction brought about by Genghis Khan survives in popular memory. No one knows exactly how many people were slaughtered by his destructive raids. Historian R. J. Rummel at the University of Hawaii, estimated that 30 million people were killed under the rule of the Mongol Empire, and the population of China fell by half in fifty years of Mongol rule.

These conquests of Genghis Khan were but the first stage of the Mongol Empire, the greatest continental empire of medieval and modern times.

His successors would extend their power over the whole of China, Persia, and most of Russia.

Sites to See
National Geographic's Genghis Khan

Kublai Khan

Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan

In 1279, Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, founded the Chinese-style Yuan dynasty. He conquered China, becoming the first emperor of the country's Yuan Dynasty. Mongol rule brought relative peace to Asia, leaving China accessible to foreign visitors, such as Marco Polo.

Modern China

The Birth of Modern China (1644 CE - present)

Qing (Manchu) (1644-1911)

The Chinese Republic (1911-1949)
In 1912, Sun Yat-sen is made first provisional President of the Republic. Guo Min Dang (KMT), The National People's Party is founded. Emperor Hsian-T'ung (Aixinjhueruo Puyi) resigns, he was the last Emperor of China. Within two days of the abdication of the Manchu Dynasty, Yuan Shih Kai becomes provisional President. Yuan Shih Kai effectively became a military dictator and in 1914 he was declared president for life with the post hereditary and passing on to his son. After the death of Yuan Shih Kai, Sun Yat Sen assumed the post of Emergency President of the Republic.

In 1921, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was formed.

Sun Yat-sen died of cancer in 1925. The leadership of the KMT was then taken over by Chiang Kaishek. Civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists started. Civil war in China was joined by renewed Japanese aggression. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the main thrust of the Japanese war effort turned away from fighting the Chinese and towards fighting the Americans. At the end of World War II, the war between the Nationalists and the Communists started up again.

In 1949, Chiang Kai-shek and KMT fled to Taiwan.

People’s Republic of China (1949-present)

In 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the creation of the People's Republic of China.

Mao Zedong and others, launched the 'Great Leap Forward' in 1958. The purpose of the Great Leap Forward was to overcome the backwardness of China's economy, industry, and technology. Steel production was to be increased by setting up small-scale "backyard furnaces," and agricultural output was to be raised by combining the collective farms into communes. What ended up happening was the greatest man-made famine in human history. From 1958 to 1961, poor planning and bad management managed to starve 20 million people to death.

In 1966, begins the Great Cultural Revolution. The Great Cultural Revolution was a radical movement that closed schools, slowed production, and virtually severed China's relations with the outside world. It lasted for two years in its intense form, lingered on for another year and a half, and was not officially declared over until 1977.

Mao Zedong died of a heart attack in 1976. Then Premier Zhou Enlai dies and a power struggle ensues. Deng Xiaoping in 1978, becomes China's paramount leader. Deng would lead one billion people through political chaos and economic ruin to economic reform and today on the road to prosperity. In 1997, Deng dies at the age of 93 of respiratory failure.



China Flag Color page

National Symbols

History For Kids-Ancient China
History, projects, teacher's guides and more.

Mr Donn's Ancient History-China
Lesson Plans & Units

Silk Production
Learn the history and production of silk.

The Forbidden City A Virtual Tour

Great Wall of China Virtual Tour 

China's Free Markets A Photo Tour

With photos and stories, discover how these free markets work, and why shopping and cooking are elaborate and time-consuming rituals in the Chinese culture.




The official language and most spoken language in China is Mandarin Chinese. There are many other languages spoken in China.

Chinese Lesson (Grace Lin website)
Hear Chinese spoken.

Your name in Chinese!
Get your own Chinese name based on your English name and find out your sign in the Chinese Zodiac! Also hear the name pronounced.

Chinese Characters
Origins and characters used in the Chinese language.


Stories to read at Asia Kids

Daisy Comes Home bookmarks

Chinese Activities author Grace Lin's website
Recipes, crafts, color pages and more.

Stories to Read and Tell - Ancient China

Chinese Myths and Fantasies
Ancient Chinese myths most known even to children. They are short but vivid.


A video showing the evolution of some common Chinese characters.


The Magic Pot (Story Cove)
by Pleasant DeSpain


Things to Do

Stone Relief
Info: Emperors in China used reliefs to teach the wise sayings of Confucius. Students made rubbings from the tablets, a fast way of copying and passing along the words of wisdom. Need: shoe box lid, clay, plaster of paris, plastic utensils (for carving)

Spread clay evenly in the shoe box lid. The depth should be about half or less of the shoe box lid. Carve a picture in the clay. Pour plaster of paris over the clay. Let dry. Remove lid and peel off the clay.

Fan Tan Card Game
Use cards up to 7 in a regular deck of cards.

Deal all the cards out to 3-4 children. Take turns, play the cards in order from 1 through 7. If you do not have the right number, you must pass your turn. When a child has played his/her last card, he/she is the winner.

Sites to See

An introduction to the abacus
The abacus was first used in China about 500 BCE.

Directions on how to use chopsticks; includes pictures.

Game - Online

Tangram Grame


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