Introduction In The Great Wall of China unit, students explore Chinese ancient civilisation and its impact on their life in the 21st century. Students use individual and cooperative learning tasks to complete an in-depth study of the language related to specific knowledge; they look at the core communication skills of listening, reading and viewing, speaking and writing in Chinese; and they obtain cross-cultural and intercultural understandings that are all defined as the key elements of communicative competence.
Students work individually as well as cooperatively in teams to develop, analyse and implement: group tactics; presentation skills using various presentation forms for a range of purposes and audiences; and thinking skills of reflection, evaluation and metacognition.
This unit provides opportunities for students to demonstrate achievement against the standards in Chinese (LOTE), Interpersonal Development, Communication and Thinking.
Learning focus This unit addresses learning focus statements from all three strands at Level 6:
Physical, Personal and Social Learning Interpersonal Development
work in teams to assign and take leadership roles, gain confidence in revealing own views, allocate tasks, determine action plans, monitor and evaluate task achievement
assess own contribution to the team and provide useful feedback to peers
reflect on the success of team management and learning in achieving agreed goals.
…comprehend key points of information when reading short modified texts…
…aware of context-sensitive language use through appropriate register, body language and gestures.
Intercultural knowledge and language awareness
...identify general cultural patterns that flow across specific settings…
…understand some cultural influences on the ways people behave and use language…
…contributes to discussions about the general concept of culture and the relation of cultures to each other…
…demonstrates an awareness of difference and similarity between languages…
…awareness of language rules applied to and patterns found in speech and writing in familiar situations.
…experiment with different presentation content and form (the use of humour, audio, etc)…
…skill in identify specific aspects of their own and others’ work (expressive, technical or aesthetic qualities)…
…commentary on the effectiveness of strategies used by others in developing their presentations, and suggestions for alternatives…
…choice of appropriate domain-specific vocab and conventions for particular tasks.
Reasoning, Processing & Inquiry
…conduct information search from varied sources…
…discriminate the way they use a variety of sources…
…validate existing knowledge, build ideas, make connections and create new knowledge.
Reflection, Evaluation & Metacognition
…analyse alternative perspectives and perceptions…
…make informed decisions based on their analysis.
Teaching and learning activities
Refer to Unit resources (see page 11) for materials required throughout the unit, and for other student and teacher support materials.
To comply with both Principle 3 and 4 of the PoLT, all learning activities in this unit are organised into clusters of learning tasks reflecting the concepts of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence and Bloom’s Taxonomy (see Teaching and learning resources). To complete this unit of work, each and every student in your class should complete a minimal of two or three clusters of tasks (at your discretion) with the cluster of word intelligence tasks as the compulsory one for all. Please feel free to adapt the workload and activities in this unit to suit your own situation.
Teachers should also be mindful that assessment practices are always an inseparable part of teaching and learning (PoLT: Principle 5). Teachers should at all times attempt at engaging students in the assessment process (assessment as) and inform their own teaching using the assessment results (assessment for). Please refer to Teaching and learning resources and PoLT for details.
Interpersonal skills and thinking skills are both an integral part of this unit of work. Students may discuss and learn about the work of these skills (see Teaching and learning resources) in separate arrangements prior and during the course of this unit. Opportunities should be allowed for students to apply these skills in the completion of tasks chosen, as well as to be assessed for reporting.
Teachers introduce this unit of work by showing students the BBC documentary Mysteries of Asia Secrets of The Great Wall and possibly one of the films (The Emperor And His Shadow, The Emperor And The Assassin, Fight And Love With A Terracotta Warrior, Hero) related to the content of the topic.
For the non topic specific linguistic elements (vocabulary and grammar) appropriate to this unit, teachers may refer to the CSFII web page for details (http://csf.vcaa.vic.edu.au/home.htm). Teachers should be mindful about the difference of CSF and VELS levels. For the topic specific vocabularies, teachers may engage their students and work out the specific list in a joint effort. Alternatively, they may refer to the list provided in the sample history unit which is published together with this unit under the same topic of The Great Wall of China. A Chinese glossary, though, is also provided as a teacher resource in this unit.
Cluster 1: Activities engaging word ontelligence 1. Facts file
Students research the following issues and conduct a PowerPoint presentation
when was the Great Wall initially built?
how and why was the Great Wall built?
why was the Emperor Qin Shi Huang so important in Chinese history?
what were the strategies the Emperor Qin Shi Huang employed to strengthen his rule after he unified the country?
why was the Silk Road so important in Chinese history?
This activity engages comprehension, application, analysis and evaluation in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
2. A to Z
With reference to all resources (internet, books, dictionaries, class notes, peers, etc), students play A to Z with words (Pinyin and Chinese characters) around the vocabulary in Chinese associated with the Great Wall, the Silk Road and the Emperor Qin Shi Huang. The whole class will work together to create a list of the 20 most important words. Refer to Student Material (see page 14).
This activity engages remembering in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
3. Picture dictionaries
Students of different language abilities work cooperatively in groups of two to learn the meanings, spellings and pronunciations of the list of key vocabularies identified in the previous activity with teacher assistance. They then design and create their own picture dictionary accordingly.
This activity engages remembering, understanding and analysing in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
4. Sound discriminations
Students develop a set of sound discrimination exercises base on the chosen vocabularies and use that with the rest of the class under teacher supervision. Refer to Student Material (see page 15).
This activity engages remembering, understanding, applying, analysing and creating in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Students, working in groups of three, create as well as practise saying their own secret messages (minimum of three) using their LOTE knowledge of both previous and present learning. Each group will then take turns to read out their messages and the group which gets most of the correct translations wins an award. Refer to Student Material (see page 16).
This activity engages understanding, analysing and creating in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Students, working in groups of three, chose two from a list of ten topics identified by you as a teacher in relation to the key persons, historical events, legends and policies associated with the Great Wall and the Emperor and write a description of eight sentences (minimum) about each topic using either Pinyin or characters. All topics should be covered. Peer assessment of the completed works should be organised amongst groups upon completion.
This activity engages analysing, evaluating and creating in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
7. Conference speakers (advocate)
In groups of two, prepare a conference speech. Students should put together a logical, rational argument for the propositions that:
the Great Wall was effective/ineffective in defending the nomadic invasions
the Emperor Qin Shi Huang was/was not a cruel man at heart.
This activity engages understanding, analysing, evaluating and creating in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Cluster 2: Activities engaging logic and mathematical intelligence
In groups of two, students develop timeline charts (in Chinese) including:
all the major battles won/lost by the solder of Qin under the rule of Emperor Qin Shi Huang prior to him unifying the whole country
the Qin, Han, Tang, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties.
Learn to use the abacus and practise adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing with it. Learn all the key words in Chinese.
Research the measurements (e.g. the width, height, length) of the Great Wall at different periods of Chinese history (Qin, Han and Ming dynasties) and calculate the total number of cubic meters of earth each used in the construction of the Great Wall. Learn all the key words in Chinese.
4. Venn diagram
Use a Venn diagram to compare the similarities and differences between the way China was ruled under the Emperor Qin Shi Huang and the way Australia is run by the current three tiers of government.
5. Rankings and ratings
Consider and rank all the measures taken by Emperor Qin Shi Huang to establish a central ruling system for the first time in Chinese history. Justify your rankings.
Use deBono’s Six Thinking Hats to analyse one of the following topics:
the Emperor’s strategies to develop his own warring state so that there would be ample supply of foods and materials in the wars he launched later against all other states
the Emperor’s decision to order so many terracotta warriors to be made to safeguard him after his death.
Cluster 3: Activities engaging space and vision intelligence 1. Map drawing
Draw the map of China including all seven warring states around 250BCE. Students should manage to clearly identify the locations of all sections of the Great Wall and the route of the Silk Road on the map. Students should learn all the key words in Chinese
2. Draw what you know
the portrait of the Emperor Qin Shi Huang base on your understanding about him
the portraits of a terracotta warrior in different poses
the sketch map of the royal palace constructed for the Emperor Qin Shi Huang
the weapons used by the Emperor’s army.
3. Slide shows
Use PowerPoint to create slide shows for one or two of the following:
a story of the Emperor’s childhood
the construction process of the Great Wall
the trading activities that occurred along the Silk Road
the procedure used to make a terracotta warrior.
Based on their knowledge of related areas, students design each of the following to represent the Kingdom of Qin:
a logo, or a T-shirt.
5. 2D/3D Modeling
Students create replicas of some works of art based on those made during the Chinese Qin, Han, Tang or Ming dynasty. It must be accompanied by a written note including the following information:
the time it was first created
what was the function of it
approximate area of origin
how it was made (e.g. materials, tools, etc).
Examples: painting, calligraphy, pottery, ceramic painting, mask-making, toy-making, model of ancient architecture, etc.
Cluster 4: Activities engaging body intelligence
1. Body sculpture
Recall two or three scenes from the visual resources. As a group, students act out the scenes.
2. Chinese calligraphy
In groups of three, students to use Chinese brushes and ink and draw the chosen Chinese characters (e.g. ‘the Great Wall’) using different colours to create a rainbow effect on a piece of paper (see page 17). All group members must be engaged in the activity.
In groups, plan, rehearse and act out their understanding of two of the scenes for 60 seconds.
the Emperor Qin Shi Huang and his warrior
the officers and labourers at the construction site of the Great Wall
the child Emperor and his teacher.
In groups, put together and rehearse a short silent puppet show using finger puppets or paddle pop stick puppets, about an argument between the emperor and his assassin.
Make a model of three people of significance using clay, plasticine, pipe cleaners or other materials.
Assessment The Victorian Essential Learning Standards supports a combination of assessment practices:
assessment of learning (summative)
assessment for learning (formative)
assessment as learning (ongoing)
(Outline specific knowledge, skills and behaviours that each assessment task will focus on)
communication in Chinese
intercultural knowledge and language awareness
recall the main points from the spoken texts through oral responses to questions
order and present information in a given format (diagram, graph or chart)
participation in oral interaction on factual topics using recycled or modelled language and appropriate pronunciation, tone and intonation
comprehend key points of information when reading short modified texts
aware of context-sensitive language use through appropriate register, body language and gestures.
identify general cultural patterns that flow across specific settings
understand some cultural influences on the ways people behave and use language
contributes to discussions about the general concept of culture and the relation of cultures to each other
demonstrates an awareness of difference and similarity between languages.
C1A2, C1A3, C1A4, C1A6
C1A2-7, C2A1, C4A3-4,
C1A2-7, C2A1, C4A3-4,
working in teams
engage all team members in group processes
use strategies when creating ideas and solving problems
use strategies for motivating group members and working towards task completion
able to evaluate group task performance.
C1A2 – A7, C2A1, C2A3
C2A4, C2A6, C4A1-6
all group tasks
reasoning, processing & inquiry
reflection, evaluation & metacognition
conduct information search from varied sources
discriminate the way they use a variety of sources
validate existing knowledge, build ideas, make connections and create new knowledge.
analyse alternative perspectives and perceptions
make informed decisions based on their analysis.
C2A4, C2A5, C3A2,
experiment with different presentation content and form (the use of humour, audio, etc)
skill in identify specific aspects of their own and others’ work (expressive, technical or aesthetic qualities)
commentary on the effectiveness of strategies used by others in developing their presentations, and suggestions for alternatives
choice of appropriate domain-specific vocab and conventions for particular tasks.
C1A3, C1A6-7, C3A2-6, C4A1-6
C1A3, C1A6-7, C3A2-6, C4A1-6
C1A3, C1A6-7, C3A2-6, C4A1-6
C1A3, C1A6-7, C3A2-6, C4A1-6
(State what key features of student performance teachers expect to see.)
At this chosen level, students are in year 9 and 10. Their progress should match the related progression points 5 to 6 at the end of each semester. If a student’s performance matches a progression point either higher or lower than the designated progression point, this student in particular is either performing above or below the level required.
Below the Level
At the Level
Above the Level
refer to progression points below 5 of the related domains
refer to progression points 5 to 6 of the related domains
refer to progression points 5.5 and above of the related domains
List of resources
Mysteries of Asia - Secrets of The Great Wall and possible one of the films
The Emperor And His Shadow
The Emperor And The Assassin, Fight And Love With A Terracotta Warrior,
Tim McNeese The Great Wall of China
, Lucent Books, 1997.
Eleanor J. Hall Ancient Chinese Dynasties
, Lucent Books, 2000.
At the time of publication the URLs (website addresses) cited were checked for accuracy and appropriateness of content. However, due to the transient nature of material placed on the Internet, Their continuing accuracy cannot be verified. Teachers are strongly advised to prepare their own indexes of sites that are suitable and applicable to this unit of work, and to check these addresses prior to allowing student access. Chinese Cultural Studies
http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/~phalsall/images.html#Archaeology The Great Wall: A Virtual Tour
http://www.chinavista.com/travel/greatwall/greatwall.html Asia For Educators
Victorian Essential Learning Standard
For information regarding Level 6 standards
Principles of Learning and Teaching