You are there in Ancient China

My fifth grade students are beginning their Chinese Webquest projects.  The students use the Publisher program’s newsletter format and write three articles on topics in ancient Chinese history.  This year they will write their articles from a ‘you are there,’ perspective.  For instance, they will write an article about the Great Wall as if they had worked on it.  This means that the students have to use the information they found while doing their research to write a firsthand account of what it was like to be a laborer on the Great Wall.  For their second article, the students must choose one Chinese leader from a list.  After doing some research they will write up an interview with this emperor or empress. They will have to think critically about the information they found and use it to ask informed questions and compose fact based responses.  For the third article the students will research an invention made in ancient China.  In their articles the students will explain how this new invention has improved or changed their lives as if they were living in ancient China.  Asking students to use the facts they find and relate them to a particular situation forces them to think critically about the information. Writing a firsthand account also makes it much harder for students to copy information right from websites, rearrange it and submit it as their own work.

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