Learning about Ancient China

Names - Writing - Great Wall - Calendar - Confucious
Activity Sheet

1. Get a Chinese Name

Click on the link below.
(Type your name in the boxes and select your gender,  male (boy) or female (girl).  Next, type in your birthdate.  Then click "Get a name!" The computer will show your name in Chinese.

The Chinese also have a zodiac sign for each year.  The year 2000 is the year of the dragon. The dragon is the zodiac sign for the year 2000.
What year were you born?  What was the zodiac sign? 

(Click on your name to hear it.  This may not work on your computer.  Click the Back button when you are finished.)


2. Chinese Writing

The Chinese use symbols for words called characters.  They are read vertically in columns (down and up).  Some characters have 26 strokes.
a.  (This only works on PCs)  See & hear Chinese numbers  (Click on the button that says "Chinese Numbers."  Then click on a Chinese number to hear it and see the English number.)
b.  Learn how to write a number in Chinese.  (Click on the link below, then click on one of the Chinese numbers and you will see how to write it.  Practice writing one or more of the numbers.)

3. The Great Wall of China


Photo copyright EnchantedLearning.com 
The Great Wall of China was built over 2,000 years ago.  It was built to protect the people from invaders from the North.  It was over 5,000 km (=10,000 Li) long. It was very hard to build.  Many people died while it was being built.
a.  Click here to see a picture that shows how the Great Wall goes over mountains in China.
b.  Click here to see a map showing where the Great Wall is in China.
c.  Click here to see more pictures of what the Great Wall of China looks like today.
d.  Click this link to read more about the Great Wall of China.

4. The Chinese Calendar

The Chinese calendar is different from our "western" calendar.  The Chinese divide the year into months based on the  moon.  This is called a lunar calendar. Our calendar is based upon the length of the Earth's revolution around the Sun.  This is called a solar calendar.

In China, an ordinary year has twelve lunar months.  The first day of the month is the day on which the New Moon occurs.

The Chinese New Year is on the closest new moon to when Spring begins.  This year it is February 5.

a.  Click on this link to find out the Chinese date for today.
The western date is the date we use.  Type today's date in the boxes.  Click the box for Gregorian Calendar. Which month and day is it on the Chinese calendar?

b.  Click the back button to return to the converter.  Now type your birthday in the boxes.  Click the box for Gregorian Calendar.   Record both dates on the activity page.

Your teacher might be interested in reading more about the Chinese calendar at http://www.friesian.com/chinacal.htm

5. Confucious and his sayings

Statue of Confucious, which stands at California State University in Los Angeles.  Photo copyright  Victor Hugo Miranda Jr.
The great thinker Confucius was known throughout China as "The Master."  Confucious' teaching was based on virtue or goodness, or "to love all men."  He believed that the past tells us how to live in the present.  Confucious' sayings were written in a book called The Analects.  They were a pattern to live by.  Your teacher can read more about Confucious at http://www.wsu.edu:8000/~dee/CHPHIL/CONF.HTM and http://www.enteract.com/~geenius/kongfuzi/
These ancient Chinese proverbs are based on the sayings of Confucious.  Go to this site to complete each proverb below.  Check the "annotation" to see what the proverb means.

A book holds a house of g _ _ _.

Do not want others to know what you have done? Better not have d_ _ _ it anyways.

A fall into a ditch makes you w_ _ _ _.

One cannot refuse to e_ _  just because there is a chance of being choked.

Only when all contribute their firewood can they build up a strong f_ _ _.

A smile will gain you ten more years of l_ _ _.

A sly rabbit will have t_ _ _ _ openings to its den..

You can't catch a cub without going into the tiger's d_ _.

This page was created for second graders learning about Ancient China by Teri Battles.  1/24/00