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Concept of Order in Ancient China

Concept of Order in Ancient China

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Comprehensive Unit
85 pages
Grade Level: Middle School – High School
Includes curriculum unit + audio CD

This unit addresses a very simple question, a fact of life for all human societies. How and why do we create order in a world whose randomness and order are ours to interpret? What religious, political, economic, philosophical, and other approaches has humankind adopted throughout history? How do these approaches work, and what is their purpose? This unit attempts to give us a taste of one country's answer. Our focus is the Han Dynasty of China, the empire which, during the time of the ancient Roman empire, was able to unite China successfully for an extended period of time (over 400 years), after its predecessor, the Qin Dynasty, first united the whole of China in 221 B.C. but lasted only 15 years.

How was the notion of order central to life in China during the Han Dynasty? The activities contained in this unit examine order in politics, in society, in human relationships, in the relationship to the land, in music, and writing. These six activities provide the conceptual redundancy students need in order to expand their understanding of the concept of order. Resources using a variety of multiple abilities are provided in order to make the content accessible to a wide range of students.

Unit Goals

  • to expand students' knowledge and understanding of the concept of order
  • to promote an understanding of how the ancient Chinese viewed and constructed order in their lives
  • to evaluate the importance of order in people's lives
  • to make connections between students' own experiences of order and the cases presented in the unit