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From China, With Love

Resources for Teaching China’s Inventions & Contributions to the World

We can thank the innovators of ancient China for so many of the things we still use today, from the tea we drink, to the porcelain cups we drink it from. This playlist provides an overview of China’s greatest technological achievements with a focus on what is considered their 4 greatest inventions- the compass, gunpowder, printing and paper-making.   

China’s 4 Great Inventions | Learn Chinese Now

This video not only introduces students to the 4 major Chinese inventions but also the Chinese names and characters for each one.

Timeline of 5 Chinese Inventions | Sutori.com

This timeline depicts when the most important technologies were developed throughout the history of China. 

The Deadly Irony of Gunpowder | TEDEd

When they set out to find a potion that would allow for them to live forever, the ancient Chinese chemists had no idea they were actually inventing a material that would go on to both dazzle and cause tremendous devastation. While this video might be too mature for younger audiences, 5th graders will likely gleam important information about how China’s inventions affected the rest of the world.

Chinese Paper-making | DK Find Out!

This interactive graphic depicts the process by which paper was made from bamboo.

All About Chinese Inventions: Compass Making | Scholastic

In this 3 day lesson, students learn about a few Chinese inventions such as dominoes, uncooked rice and pasta, abacus, and fireworks, before trying their hand at making one of the most important ones- the compass.

Top 20 Chinese Inventions | USC.edu

Of course China’s contributions go deeper than the big 4. This reading details a few more crucial innovations from ancient China, including paper money and silk. This assignment includes an activity at the end that directs students to come up with their own project inspired by these inventions.

Ancient Chinese Science (Matching) | PBS Learning Media

Read a description of an ancient Chinese invention and match it with its name.

Extension Activity: Inventions & Science: Movable Type | PBS Learning Media

Learn about the early practices of printing in China during the Tang and Song dynasties with this clip from The Story of China. Books were primarily published with woodblocks, with entire pages carved into separate pieces of wood. The Chinese first invented movable type during the Song Dynasty, but the complexity of the Chinese language made it cumbersome and not cost efficient. However, publishers continued to use woodblocks.

Extension Activity: The Story of China Timeline | PBS

This timeline documents major events throughout China’s long history and depicts many of the important inventions and technologies developed along the way.

Extension Activity: Ancient China | DKFindOut

Students can learn more about the history of China and then quiz themselves.

Eboni Hogan

Content Specialist

Eboni has extensive experience in curriculum development, with a focus on culturally-responsive and arts-based approaches. Having spent years creating academic content and providing professional development to teachers, she now curates themed playlists meant to provide educators with valuable, time-saving resources.

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