Homeschool Chinese: The Provinces of China

China is the world's third largest country, after Russia and Canada. Its political geography is complicated and differs somewhat from other countries. Most of it is broken up into 23 provinces (省), but there are several other geographic units of the same hierarchical rank:  5 autonomous regions, 4 large municipalities, and 2 special administrative regions (Hong Kong and Macau).  In anticipation of our upcoming trip, Laoshi Shawn (老师) spent two class periods introducing the kids to the provinces of China. He began with a map of the provinces and as the kids colored the map, he introduced a few facts about each. For homework he assigned a list of questions requiring them to recall the information he had shared with them earlier in the week.  The list of questions is provided below.  An alternative activity is to challenge kids to find the answers like a scavenger hunt. 
  1. Which province produces a lot of salt?
  2. Which province is famous for the pandas?
  3. Which province is called Chinese Hawai'i?
  4. Which province is the coldest in the winter?
  5. Which province has the highest mountain in the world?
  6. Which provinces/districts have the most spicy food in the nation? (four all together)
  7. Which province shares the beauty of green pastures?
  8. Which province has the Terra Cotta Soldiers?
  9. Which province is famous for the West Lake?
  10. Which province is famous for its silk?
Exploring the provinces of China took about two class periods.  The following week, we watched a travel DVD on China.  The kids were encouraged to take notes during the program and would say, "Tíng!"  (停!) if they wanted to pause the program. Meili called out frequently and in the end she had 3 pages of notes.  Jiejie, on the other hand, wrote down only a couple of characters and even got to calling out, "Bù ting!" (不停!) to resume the program.  Shawn would also pause periodically to point out things - he was familiar with our itinerary so he was careful to point out things to the kids that they would likely see.  I enjoyed the program very much and was pleased that the kids were now familiar with much of what I had learned while planning our travels.

For homework, he assigned a comprehensive list of questions that reviewed what was covered in the DVD.  Meili was required to answer all 18 questions while Jiejie was required to do only 15.  The University of Vermont has created an interactive trivia-type flash game, The China Game,  whereby students answer questions about Chinese history and geography to “race” a dragon from the city of Harbin in the east to Urumqi in the west.
1. Qinghai, 2. Sichuan, 3. Hainan, 4. Heilongjiang, 5. Tibet, 6. Chongqing, Sichuan, Hubei, & Hunan,  7. Fujian, 8. Shanxi, 9. Zhejiang, and 10. Jiangxi


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