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Paper money and letters of credit

By | 2017-06-12T18:28:55+00:00 June 12th, 2017|China, Economy|

Chinese paper money For almost two thousand years, people used metal coins for money, or they used letters of credit (like a check today). But there was a big change around 1150 AD in China, under the Song Dynasty, when people first started to use paper money (a promise to pay gold or [...]

History of chickens – India and China

By | 2017-10-19T08:21:50+00:00 June 12th, 2017|China, Food, India|

Clay hen whistle from Mohenjo Daro (ca. 2700 BC, now in Brooklyn Museum) Long ago, lots of wild chickens lived in India and East Asia (China, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam). That's where people first domesticated (tamed) chickens, maybe around 7000 BC. Recent genetic evidence shows that people tamed chickens in two different places: [...]

A day in ancient China – Food, Costumes

By | 2017-06-09T23:30:09+00:00 June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts|

An enslaved woman dancer from the Han Dynasty If you're a teacher, parent, or day camp counselor thinking of spending a week or so on ancient China, here are some ideas other people have found useful: Clothes: For boys, loose cotton pants in blue or black, and a matching cotton jacket; pajamas may [...]

Terracotta Army project – Ancient China

By | 2017-06-09T23:25:42+00:00 June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts, History|

Chinese terracotta army head made by kids at Laurelhurst School, Portland Oregon In the Qin Dynasty, about 210 BC, one of the emperors had a whole army of men made out of clay to go in his tomb and guard him in the afterlife. Each one was just a little bit different from [...]

Making a Chinese scroll – Ancient China project

By | 2017-06-09T23:00:02+00:00 June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts|

Chinese scroll made by kids at Laurelhurst School, Portland Oregon Chinese people began to write about 1500 BC. People usually wrote vertically, from the top of the page to the bottom in columns. They read the text beginning from the right side of the page, the reverse of what we do. After Ts'ai Lun [...]

How to make paper – Ancient China project

By | 2017-06-09T22:55:15+00:00 June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts|

Chinese paper money This is a good sit-down project for a sunny day. Factories in China made paper out of cloth rags and mulberry bark (more on Chinese paper), but it will be easier to make paper out of other paper. Begin by getting a sheet of newspaper, and let them cut or [...]

How to make a kite – Ancient China projects

By | 2017-06-09T14:15:19+00:00 June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts|

Chinese painting of kite-flying The earliest kites were probably invented in China about 800 BC, during the Zhou Dynasty. People made these early kites out of bamboo and silk. Chinese people flew kites for fun, and also used kites in war to carry messages, to signal people far away, and to carry explosives into [...]

What is Kongming’s Light? – Ancient China project

By | 2017-06-09T14:12:08+00:00 June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts, Science|

Kongming's Light, made by kids at Laurelhurst School, Portland Oregon Scientists in China were early leaders in the investigation of hot air and how you could use the fact that hot air rises to lift things off the ground. One early experiment, reported by the Chinese book Ten Thousand Infallible Arts of the [...]

Papier-mache dragon – Ancient China project

By | 2017-06-09T13:32:11+00:00 June 9th, 2017|Art, China, Crafts|

Chinese dragon, made by kids at Laurelhurst School, Portland Oregon Beginning at least as early as the Chou Dynasty, around 1100 BC, dragons like this one were the symbols of the Emperors in China. In the Taoist view of the world, dragons were part of the yang. In China, people think of dragons [...]

How to make a compass – China Activities

By | 2017-06-09T13:30:00+00:00 June 9th, 2017|China, Crafts, Science|

Early Chinese compass (reconstruction) Chinese scientists invented the first compasses, around the 200s AD, near the end of the Han Dynasty. These early Chinese compasses were very simple arrangements of an iron needle and a bit of cork, and you can easily make one just like them. On a sunny day, you can begin [...]