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Activity Overview

Using a G.R.A.P.E.S. Chart to organize information about ancient Civilizations is a useful tool to enhance students' analysis of the characteristics and contributions of a society. Going further and including visuals helps students to better retain the details of each category.

When learning about ancient Civilizations, students may need teachers to provide a variety of resources. The use of diverse resources such as primary sources, videos, songs, readings from textbooks, encyclopedias and literature can be helpful for students to gain an accurate and complete picture of the time period. Students can use graphic organizers to write notes about the different categories as they learn.

Students will then create a Social Pyramid to describe the Social Structure of ancient China using the template in StoryboardThat and creating titles, illustrations and descriptions to demonstrate what they’ve learned.

Students can come together after they’ve created their storyboards to share what they’ve learned. The full G.R.A.P.E.S. Chart can be used as a post assessment after students have presented.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a Social Pyramid focusing on the different characteristics of the Social Structure of ancient China.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Using the Pyramid template, use the “free form text” to write titles in each section of the pyramid.
  3. You may include a background image and pictures to represent the different categories. To find images related to ancient China, type “China” into the search bar.
  4. Save and exit when you're done.

Requirements: Label each level of the Social Pyramid of ancient China. Include appropriate scenes or characters to illustrate the cell. 2-3 sentence description to demonstrate your understanding.

Lesson Plan Reference

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How To Understand the Hierarchy of Social Structure


Discuss Jobs and Roles in Ancient China

Lead students in a full-class discussion about roles in Ancient Chinese society, from the Emperor to the nobility to the peasants. Define any unfamiliar terms and explain similarities and differences to today to aid in further understanding.


Explain the Pyramid of Social Structure

Use the blank pyramid structure to explain that people on the top had more power and status than those on the bottom. Help student understand these spatial relationships.


Assist Students in Placing Different People in the Heirarchy

Allow students to place the categories of people along with pictures onto the pyramid. This visual placement will help them to understand the concepts more fully.

Frequently Asked Questions about Social Structure in Ancient China

Were people in Ancient China placed into a heirarchy system?

Yes, as in many cultures, certain citizens had more power and status than others. The Emperor was at the top of the pyramid, and there were enslaved people who were at the bottom.

Did scholars have any power in Ancient China?

Surprisingly, scholars did have some status in Ancient China, and there were many great insights that came from this time period. They were considered part of the nobility along with landowners.

How was the army perceived in Ancient China?

The army was considered part of the government, and in the the hierarchy this put them right below the Emperor. They definitely had some power and status in society.

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