Powerful China Educator Toolkit from Chicago Field Museum
On occasion, I have been accused of being too US history centric at the expense of world history, civics, and econ. And it’s possible.
Yeah, okay. It’s true. But seriously . . . come on. It’s the Civil War. Lewis and Clark. Teddy Roosevelt. Gordon Parks. The Amazon Army in southeast Kansas. Freedom Riders. Who doesn’t love those stories?
But I am working to get better at finding stuff that is useful across the disciplines. So I was excited to get a press release from the Chicago Field Museum about what looks like some very cool and useful Chinese history and cultural instructional resources. If you teach middle or high school world history, this is definitely worth a look.
The Field Museum has launched a new educator toolkit, designed to help teachers integrate ancient China into their curriculum. This toolkit, which is aligned with C3 standards, works in conjunction with content from the Museum’s newest permanent exhibition, the Cyrus Tang Hall of China. Using the resources in this kit, educators will be able to facilitate object-based learning with their students that will accompany an exploration of the exhibit, either digitally or in-person.
Inspired by the NCSS College, Career, and Civic Readiness Framework, each activity follows an inquiry arc that prepares students to ask questions, apply disciplinary knowledge and skills, gather and evaluate sources, and develop new arguments. I especially like their approach of using the idea of empathy as the centerpiece of their lesson design:
These activities are designed to build empathy – both academically and socially. Empathy is a crucial skill for understanding the lives of others in their own context, and for preventing bias in the present day. We approach empathy in three ways:
- Historical Empathy
Building understanding for how people lived in other times to help build historical context
- Cultural Empathy
Learning from the perspectives of other cultures today
- Social Empathy
Developing skills for collaboration with peers in the classroom
“The toolkit is designed to prepare students to think like social scientists in the field,” said Heidi Rouleau, School Learning Experiences Manager. “Through the process of guided inquiry, students will be able to develop a clearer picture about what China would have looked like in the ancient past.”
The China Educator Toolkit is available on The Field Museum’s website, in both English and Spanish, and is targeted toward middle and high school classrooms. You’ll find a wide variety of resources and materials that support the idea of using artifacts as teaching and learning tools. You can also find a handy Current Events discussion guide.