China's Cultural Revolution
Grade Level: High School
Includes curriculum unit + CD-ROM of images + audio CD + book ("Red Scarf Girl")
The Cultural Revolution in China (1966–1976) was a decade of enormous change and upheaval with a lasting impact on the country, its citizens, and the world. China's Cultural Revolution teaches students about the social, cultural, educational, political, and economic changes through hands-on activities requiring critical thinking skills.
Lesson One provides students with an overview of 20th-century China preceding the Cultural Revolution. Students become familiar with important events in 20th-century China and determine whether they can be considered revolutions. They are also introduced to the events of the Cultural Revolution.
Lesson Two teaches students about the Cultural Revolution's impact on Chinese citizens. Students follow along with a recording of Chinese daily exercises, learn about major policy changes during the Cultural Revolution, and analyze quotations by Mao Zedong and Confucius. Students then become familiar with the significance of revolutionary songs, and discuss and examine official government documents, newspaper and journal articles, eyewitness accounts, letters, and memoirs that shed light on particular aspects of the Cultural Revolution.
Lesson Three teaches students about the significance, purposes, styles, and uses of propaganda art during the Cultural Revolution and examine a number of posters and other visual media from the People's Republic of China. In groups, students analyze the content and meanings of images and create captions or titles for each.
In Lesson Four, students read the book Red Scarf Girl, a memoir that gives students vivid insight into how the policies of the Cultural Revolution affected the educational system and citizens' everyday lives. After reading and discussing the novel, students create a number of items related to the book and write memoirs from the point of view of other characters in the novel as a concluding activity.
In Lesson Five, students study the treatment of the Cultural Revolution in textbooks from Taiwan, the United States, and China, which they draw upon to create their own textbook entry. They explore the impact the Cultural Revolution had on the world and consider how their views of the Cultural Revolution changed throughout the unit. Students conclude by discussing the most important lessons of the Cultural Revolution.