Where to Begin

Through OneWorld Classrooms' China Classroom Travel Resources, your students will be 'traveling' to several villages, towns and cities in China. So, before you pack your bags, try the warm-up activities below.

1. Where on the Globe is China?
2. How to Get to China
3. General Information
4. Where on the Map are Shanghai, Yantai, Dali, Lijiang, and Xishuangbanna?
5. Things That Go to Make Up a Life
6. Similarities and Differences
7. Packing Your Bags I (Math Activity) (K-3)
8. Packing Your Bags II (Math Activity) (4 and up)


1. Where on the Globe is China? (K-3) - Use the globe to locate Asia. Have students identify some Asian countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan (Central Asia), Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka (South Asia), Thailand, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, The Philippines, Vietnam (South East Asia), Korea, Japan, the People's Republic of China (East Asia). China borders the East China Sea, South China Sea, Yellow Sea, and Korean Bay. It begins from the confluence of the Heilong and Wusuli Rivers (135 degrees and 5 minutes east longitude) in the east to the Pamirs west of Wuqia County in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (73 degrees and 40 minutes east longitude) in the west, with about 5,200 kilometers separating the two extremes. In the north, it starts from the midstream of the Heilong River north of Mohe (53 degrees and 31 minutes north latitude) and stretches south to the southernmost island Zengmu'ansha in the South China Sea (4 degrees and 15 minutes north latitude), with about 5,500 kilometers in between.

China is the third largest country in the world, after Russia and Canada. Have your students compare the size of their own country with China.

Have students look at the shape of China on the map and compare it to something. Students in China learn that their country is shaped like a rooster. Roosters are a symbol of diligence in China since they wake up so early to start their day of work, so Chinese people proudly call their country the Rooster of the East.

2. How to Get to China (K-3) - After completing Where on the Globe is China (above), have students trace the route they would travel to get to Shanghai, China from their home country/state/province. Ask students in what direction(s) they will travel and by what means they might go. Have them estimate the distance in miles or kilometers and have them estimate a travel time. Explain to students that in the ancient times the famous Silk Road, starting from Changían (Xi'an today), once a capital of China, and ending at the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea, linked China with the West. The road passed through several ancient Chinese cities: Xiían, Lanzhou, Dunhuang, Turpan, Urumuqi. Can your students roughly trace the Silk Road on a map? Estimate how long it would take to complete the Silk Road on camels? (Visit http://www.silk-road.com/toc/index.html for more information.)

3. General Information - China is the world's most populous country, with over 1.3 billion people. It has an area of 9.6 million square kilometers, or one-fifteenth of the world's land mass. It has 23 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities and two Special Administrative Regions (Hong Kong and Macao).

China is made up of 56 ethnic groups. The Han people make up 91 percent of the total population, and the other 55 national minorities 9 percent.

The national language is Mandarin, which is one of the five working languages at the United Nations.

From China came one of the four oldest civilizations in the world and inventions such as the compass, paper, gunpowder and printing. The Great Wall, the Grand Canal and the Karez Irrigation System are three great ancient engineering projects built in China 2,000 or more years ago.

4. Where on the Map are Shanghai, Yantai, Dali, Lijiang and Xishuangbana?
(4 and up) - After completing the Where on the Globe is China activity, have students take a closer look at a map of China to find the towns and cities you have encountered or will encounter in your China unit and through the Classroom Travel Resources . (Online, try Atlapedia at http://www.atlapedia.com/online/countries/china.htm .) Then, have them identify nearby major rivers, mountain ranges, plateaus, deserts, and grasslands.

Shanghai: Identify major cities: Shanghai, Beijing (the Capital), Xi'an, Guangzhou.

Yantai: Locate the small coastal city Yantai in Shandong Province. It's across the Korea Bay from North Korea.

Dali and Lijiang: Locate Yunnan Province in the Himalaya Mountain Region. The Capital City of this province is Kunming. Dali and Lijiang are two small ancient towns slightly to the west of Kunming.

Xishuangbanna: Xishuangbanna is the rain forest region to the Southwest of Kunming, bordering Burma and Laos. This tropical region of China is home to fourteen different ethnic groups. It is also famous for its rich biological diversity and indigenous culture.

5. Things That Go to Make Up a Life
- Brainstorm with your students to create a long list of things that make up their lives (allow a wide range of responses). Have students determine which items on the list are general and which are specific, then have them break up the items into categories, listing specific items under general categories. The overall list should provide a snapshot of the life and culture of your students. Next, have your students do the activity considering the lives of children who live in China. Save the list and when your China unit is complete, review it to determine how accurate the snapshot your students had in their minds about Chinese children was. Modify the list based on what you learned by completing the project and discuss it as a cultural snapshot.

6. Similarities and Differences
- A key social skill for all children is to understand that people are all similar in ways and different in ways. Discuss similarities and differences between students in your own classroom. Encourage students to speak of similarities and differences in an inclusive and inoffensive way. Both should be celebrated: similarities bind us as human beings and differences make us special and able to make unique contributions to the world around us. After, using the list you made in Things That Go to Make Up a Life, discuss ways that students in your class are similar and different to Chinese children. Revisit the discussion at the completion of your China unit.

7. Packing Your Bags I
(Math Activity) (K-3) - Have your students make a list of items they would bring with them if they were traveling to China for six weeks. Have them take into consideration the weather and the environment as well as health and entertainment. Make sure they list how many of each item they would bring. When they've completed the list, have them add up the total number of items. Next, tell them they have to fit all of their items into one large and one small suitcase. Have them prioritize the items eliminating those that are least important. Next have them estimate how many of each item they could fit in the suitcases. If possible, have each student bring in one item on the list (or something of similar size that could represent the item - i.e. a small box instead of a camera). Bring in a large suitcase and a small suitcase and see if you can fit all of your items into them. If not, have students prioritize further until they can get everything in. Compare the number of items on the original list with the number of items that actually fit in the suitcase.

8. Packing Your Bags II
(Math Activity) (4 and up) - Modify Packing Your Bags (above) by telling your students, after they have made their initial list of items, that the airline they will be flying to China with has a baggage limit of 70 pounds or (rounding off) 30 kilograms. Have students estimate the weight of all the items on their list, then prioritize considering their estimations and the weight limit. When they've pared the list down, have them bring in the items and check them for actual weight, comparing the results with their estimates.

Where to Begin

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