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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

China CultureQuest

Go on a dig with your students to China, using both digital tools and Chinese brushwork to learn about the art and culture of China.


This unit kicks off with a brainstorming session, eliciting from the kids what “culture” is, and how they think Chinese culture may be similar to or different from their own.

• Start a list on the board of what they know about China, from there branch off into what they might wish to learn about China. Individually or in small groups, students choose what topic on the list (or another they might have thought of) that they would like to research. It is very important that the kids pick a topic they are really interested in because they will be focusing on it for several weeks. Team members need to choose related subtopics they will be responsible for.


Research and Writing

• The students register on Filamentality http://kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/
Filimentality is a web based fill-in-the-blank tool that guides them through picking a topic, searching it on the web, finding relevant Internet links and creating learning activities.

• The students are given a copy of the rubric that will be used for assessing their research report. See and revise the attached “China Report Rubric” or make your own on Rubistar, a free tool to help teacher create rubrics for project-based-learning activities. The link for Rubistar is http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php

• At least 2- 4 class sessions are dedicated to allowing the students to find relevant sites, write short reviews of the sites, take notes, and word process their China CultureQuest reports.

Chinese Calligraphy and Brush Painting 

• The students will visit the following sites for background information and visual aides:

Introduction to Chinese Brush Painting http://asia-art.net/chinese_tech_brush.html

Learn about a “Virtual Chinese Brush” http://people.brandeis.edu/~rossgir/

Appreciation & history of Chinese Calligraphy http://chinapage.com/calligraphy.html

Seven sequential steps in writing strokes http://chinavoc.com/arts/calligraphy/sevenstep.asp

• Next, students use an online English-Chinese dictionary to find words relevant to the China CultureQuest research topic.  
  English-Chinese Dictionary http://ok88.com/go/svc/ecdict.html

• Get a Chinese Name inspired by your English name at http://mandarintools.com/

• Students practice using the Chinese brush with tempera paint, drawing and writing Chinese words they found in the Internet research


• For homework, students collect digital and “physical” images and ephemera related to their China CultureQuest topic. For example, they can collect Chinese menus, articles in magazines, travel brochures, etc.

• To illustrate their topic, the students create an 8” x 10” collage using the collected ephemera. They practice and apply Chinese characters and calligraphy to their collage, using  cut  tag board or paper for the base of the collage. Scissors and glue stick are used to separate the image elements and glue them in position.

• Chinese characters, calligraphy and drawings are applied to the collages using Chinese bamboo brushes and tempera paint.

  The completed collages are scanned at 72dpi, scaled to 5” x 7” and saved in .gif or .jpg file format.

  Dreamweaver or another web authoring program (or html) is used to make web-based projects combining the students' illustrations, reports, and links to relevant web sites about the culture of China.


Students use the attached Self-Assessment Worksheet.  The teacher uses this document along with the report rubric, classroom observation, and review of completed web project  to assess and evaluate student achievement throughout the unit.

Student Work:



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