A few of our Social Studies standards in Texas require us to teach students to understand different cultures and traditions.
(11) Culture. The student understands similarities and differences among people. The student is expected to: (A) identify similarities and differences among people such as kinship, laws, and religion; and (B) identify similarities and differences among people such as music, clothing, and food. (12) Culture. The student understands the importance of family customs and traditions. The student is expected to: (A) describe and explain the importance of family customs and traditions; and (B) compare family customs and traditions.
Studying China was a wonderful way to address these standards. Throughout our unit, we read many picture books, saw videos, listened to music, and experienced Chinese traditions and culture.
To begin our unit, we read a few picture books and located China on the map. My students’ favorite book from the first day was called, “Goldy Luck And The Three Pandas.” They ADORED this story (as they are obsessed with fairy tales!) and asked if we could decorate our room to make it, “look more like China.” To do this, we created Chinese lanterns out of construction paper. I let my students choose any color they wanted and they got to work.
The next day, I brought in a few items for centers to help my students experience Chinese culture and traditions. One center was using chopsticks to move yarn noodles from one bowl to the next.
After learning how to grow rice, another center included spooning with rice and a Chinese spoon.
Another was pouring tea from a Chinese tea kettle.
We read “The Runaway Wok” and “Noodle Magic” and then practiced measuring the emperor’s noodles. For this activity, I brought in my wok and placed yarn noodles of varying sizes in it. One at a time, my students came up to the wok and removed a noodle with our chopsticks. They were trying to find the shortest noodle!
Later that day, they worked on measuring all the noodles with standard and non-standard units of measurement.
Each day we learned about a famous place in China. My students’ favorite was The Great Wall Of China. Many of my students practiced building the wall using our blocks.
Another favorite amongst my students was learning how to write Chinese characters. We practiced this using a variety of methods:
(This app is called Monki– my kids LOVE it.)
and the light table.
For Chinese New Year, I gave each of my students a traditional red envelope along with Chinese coins and candy.
We also enjoyed a feast of traditional foods!
And read our fortunes!
We had an absolute blast studying China. It was a wonderful way to introduce my students to different cultures and traditions and to experience something new! If you didn’t teach this before Chinese New Year, don’t worry! You can teach lessons like this at anytime during the year. If you are interested in lesson plans, activities, and resources, feel free to check out my unit on China! You can purchase it here!
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