It’s been a while since my last lapbook. In the past term, C was learning about China in school, so I thought it would be interesting to start a lapbook on the same topic. It would also be a good chance to start a discussion with her on her Chinese heritage.
In the lapbook, we had the usual items – things found in China, its location on the world map, the China flag. I also included some interesting information about China - its capital, currency, population and leader. C already knew about Beijing, but wasn’t aware of the country’s other ancient capitals. She was also amazed at the birth rate in China (one baby born every 1.9sec!).
I had little cards with pictures of Chinese inventions – she had learnt about some of them in school, but was surprised when I told her that the toothbrush was a Chinese invention (“How did they brush their teeth before the toothbrush was invented?“). Paper making was a fascinating topic for her too (we will probably try doing this during the holidays).
I explained that prior to paper, the ancient Chinese used to write on scrolls made up of bamboo strips or silk. As a craft activity, we created a scroll out of popsicle sticks and twine (because popsicle sticks are much easier to find compared to bamboo strips!).
Tip: If you intend to make your own scrolls, line the sticks and mark the spot where you intend to tie the twine (about 1.5-2cm from the top). Then use a penknife to cut notches – it will help the twine stay in position.
On the completed scroll, C copied part of the Three Character Classic (三字经), one of the Chinese classic texts. We used a black marker for writing. I wrote some of the more difficult words in pencil so she could trace it. I was really proud that she managed to write so neatly! We did some revision on the recitation of the text too.
When learning the chinese language, C had complained that some of the characters were difficult to write, unlike the english alphabet (in her words: “there are so many strokes!“). I explained that the language evolved from pictograms (象型字), and that most of the words had interesting origins. We viewed an interesting video on youtube, and I included a matching game in the lapbook. She was much more willing to learn about the chinese characters after that. Note: The original pictogram from which the current form evolved is included at the corner of the picture card.
Besides the Three Character Classic, I also introduced another classic text called Hundred Family Surnames (百家姓). I explained that since China was so big, there were literally hundreds of different surnames (currently there are 504). I printed out a list and asked her to locate her surname, my surname, and her grandmother’s surname. I explained that there were some surnames that were very common, and there were a lot of people who had the same surnames although they did not come from the same family.
I took the opportunity to explain that some of the surnames originated from the same area in China. She had learnt that there were 56 ethnic groups in China, so I showed her the different regions of China where each ethnic group resided. I explained that her grandfather and ancestors came from China (and showed her on the map). She was amazed that her grandfather and ancestors actually came from China (we had not explained this to her prior to this discussion).
Here’s the completed lapbook! While this project has been completed, this was just the beginning of C’s journey to learn more about her Chinese heritage.
Download the lapbook here ==>Lap book-China
How do you teach your children about their heritage?