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Enduring Legacy of Ancient China: Shi Huang Di

Essential Question

Shi Huangdi: Were His Actions Justified?

Prior Knowledge Needed

Some questions to consider then answer after reading:

When did this person rule?

When was this document written?

What do we know about the author?

How is the author's point-of-view about this emperor? Three examples.

Would the author say that this emperor was successful or unsuccessful?

This line of questioning would hopefully get the students to think about: who is recording history and when? The educated and elite. Does timing of when history is recorded make a difference? Why compare or transform an emperor to a god? What does that say about legitimacy?

Activity: Think pair share. Have stronger students with weaker ones to read and discuss the questions before coming back to the group of a general discussion.

Information Station 1

Information Stations can be done in a few ways. For an information station activity that would completed in one class period, we break Shi Huangdi's actions and accomplishments into a few groupings: Confucianism Station, Qin Dynasty Station, Great Wall Station, Improving Infrastructure Station, Video Station (Terra Cotta Warriors), Standardization of Measurements. For a one day lesson, we have students spend a few minutes at each station to learn and answer questions at each station.

For Confuicanism: How did Shi Huangdi treat Confucianists? Why did he treat them this way? What inferences can you make about the point of view of the painter who created this image? Do you think it was created during the Qin Dynasty? Why or why not? How did Shi Huangdi's treatment of the Confucianists reflect his Legal thinking? (Questions taken directly from Lesson Plan/Activity Plan of Kristin Strobel) For the quick version, students make take notes on each station about facts and the effects of these actions, positive or negative.

For the Confucianists station, I would add the text, which includes the image she already has for this station, from the web page listed below, about the burning of books and scholars.

Information Station 2

For a longer version of this activity, we could assign groups of three or four to work together through the period to study an assigned aspect of Shi Huangdi's reign then report back to the group, the next day, their findings and whether or not they find this a positive or negative part of his actions. They would need to support their statements with evidence.

For this longer Confucianism Station, I would keep the website above but would add the attached document with DBQ's. I would augment the DBQ's to exclude the questions about legalism but would change the last question to something to discuss as a whole group, towards the end of class. "Are these documents still relevant today?"


Helpful Websites and Links

Lexington High School Library Media Center