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Great Wall


This is an article that I wrote in January.   The idea can be used at any point in the year.

Now that our western New Year has come and gone I find myself thinking of Chinese New Year. 2001 is the Year of the Snake. January 24th is a perfect night to visit your favorite Chinese Restaurant.

My son and I studied China a few months ago.  We had a lot of fun with that study and read an incredible amount of books about the people, history and culture of China.  Of course, MY favorite way to study China is to eat dishes from that country!

A friend of mine is preparing Chinese New Year pages for her website and we have been swapping ideas and resources. Well, mostly Lindsay has been sharing with me : ) Our discussion reminded me of the very cool way that we kept our facts organized.

Another homeschool family was studying China at the same time that we were.  Kate decided to build a Great Wall in her school room using bricks made from construction paper cut in half.  I knew that wouldn't work in our apartment but I loved the idea.  I ended up adapting her idea in a smaller and more portable way.

I have a roll of manila paper that is as thick as card stock. It is about 9 inches deep.  I cut about 3 feet of length to be our base.  Then we used cards that are about 4" x 5" for the individual bricks.  Each brick had some type of fact or drawing on it.  Completed bricks were glued directly on the manila strip. In this way our Great Wall wasn't a threat to our apartment wall or our security deposit --wink--.  It could also be rolled up and put away easily.

I wanted to use this idea as a visual representation of what we had learned.  I thought my son would enjoy seeing all that he had learned in one glance.  An unexpected advantage was that our Great Wall proved to be an excellent way to stay organized, to MY benefit.  Our bibliography ended up on our Great Wall, brick by brick.

We used yellow and green cards, alternated, to give the project some color. Every 15 bricks or so we'd add a guard tower.  The overall effect was striking.  Our project didn't remain hanging every day.  We took it out each time we added bricks and a tower.  Of course...we did stop to admire and show it off too.  After it was completed we left it up for a week or so and then tucked it away with the rest of our resources for the unit.

If you're in the planning stage for the coming semester you may want to consider tossing in a study of China.  Its timely and with Chinese New Year in just a few weeks you will be able to enjoy some very FUN aspects of Chinese Culture.  I know we'll be revisiting this topic, and taking it deeper, as a prelude to a field trip to celebrate the Lunar New Year.


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