Medieval China and Japan

Medieval China and Japan

PowerPoint Presentations

From the founding of China under the Q'in to the dissolution after the Han with close up looks at Confuciansim and Buddhism.

We open with China's golden age under the Tang and Song before looking at foreign rule under the Yuan and rebirth under the Ming.

Our first lecture on Japan focuses heavily on China and how it impacted Japan's early growth.

In time Japan, especially the upper class in the court, began to focus on their own unique culture.

I mean, it sells itself really.

Medieval China and Japan

Lessons, Labs and Activities


1. Digging for the Truth: The Tomb - an introduction to China that simulates an exploration of Shi Huang Di's incredible tomb.

2. China Walkthru - Simple introductory worksheet based on the graphics in Holt's Medieval to Early Modern Times.

3. Chinese Inventions Lab (Updated Version Using PearDeck with key) - Inquiry-based lab where students in collaborative groups examine pictures of Chinese inventions to try to determine what they were and how they functioned.

4. China Culture Shock - Experiential mini-activities including Tai Chi and playing with tangrams.

5. HA: The 10 Abominations - A comparative reading of a set of rules that guided China to the Hebrew 10 Commandments.

8. Law & Order: Cathay (Marco Polo Investigation) Lab - History Mystery lab examining whether Marco Polo ever truly visited China.

9. Heaven's Report Cards - Collaborative analysis activity where students examine fact sheets about Chinese dynasties and give them grades in various subjects.

10. China Virtual Tour - Take students on a virtual tour of China's greatest creations (the great wall, grand canal, forbidden city and more!) using PearDeck.

11. China: By The Numbers - a fun look at China using numbers and some rather odd comparisons. Built for PearDeck.


1. Know Yourself - What better way to introduce Japan than by talking about ourselves? I mean, Japan was basically a middle schooler anyway right?

2. Japan Walkthru - introductory activity based on the graphics in Holt's Medieval to Early Modern Times.

3. Culture Shock: Japan - A series of mini-activities including pre-fight sumo rituals and creating origami samurai hats. There are multiple parts to this lab that can be complete in any order you choose. I start with the Japanese Beauty worksheet, then do the sumo reenactment and close with origami.

4. Haiku! - A lab where students learn the form and function of Haiku before creating their own.

5. Feudalism 2.0 - In this adaptation of the TCI Feudalism lab from my Europe unit students reenact life in Feudal Japan with some unique twists. (Watch out for the ninja!)

6. Japan DBQ - Students analyze a series of documents to determine whether Japan was more like China or more like Europe. You can get the documents here or find similar ones in your textbook.

7. Minamoto: To Tell the Truth - Using the format of the old game show students try to determine which statements about the shogun Minamoto are true and which are false.

You'll need the following four files:1 - Minamoto: TTT, 2 - Contestant 1, 3 - Contestant 2, 4 - Contestant 3

The first file contains the entire script and should be given on only to the teacher. Cut up the 15 questions into strips and pass them out randomly to students. Choose 3 strong readers to be the contestants and give each of them one of the Contestant scripts. Read through the questions and scripts and have the students take notes as you desire. I have them make a 3 column table and for each question they write whether the answer they hear is believable or not and why. At the end have them try to guess who the real Minamoto is.

8. Unsolved History: Ninjas Questions - a worksheet used along with the DVD "Unsolved History: Ninjas."

9. Weight the Evidence: Ninjas - In this lab students evaluate a series of documents (pictures, text and video) to determine if ninjas were real or not. Requires students to weigh reliability of sources from different times and places to draw a conclusion. Digital Guide Sheet.

10: HA: The Two Frogs - a short Japanese folk tale with some reading analysis attached. Can you determine the moral?