Ancient China is called one of the world's cradles of civilization. China has the longest continuous history in the world with over 3,500 years of written history! Many superlatives can be applied to Ancient China: It has the highest mountains! The longest rivers! The largest plateau! The longest wall! And, some of the world's earliest empires. This teacher guide utilizes the popular G.R.A.P.E.S. acronym for teaching about ancient civilizations and focuses on the geography, religion, achievements, politics, economy, and social structure of Ancient China.
Ancient Civilizations are typically taught focusing on the key areas of: Geography, Religion, Achievements, Politics, Economy and Social Structure using the acronym G.R.A.P.E.S. By utilizing this acronym, students can compartmentalize their findings and compare and contrast different civilizations. There are other similar acronyms that teachers may use, like P.I.R.A.T.E.S., P.E.R.S.I.A.(N)., and, G.R.E.A.T.S., and they all address similar areas of civilization. Any of the graphic organizers shown here can be adapted to fit the acronym of your choice!
G.R.A.P.E.S.: Geography, Religion, Achievements, Politics, Economy and Social Life.
This storyboard explains the geographic features of Ancient China.
The Himalayan Mountains lie to the south and southeast, creating a natural border that kept Ancient China isolated. The mountains were considered sacred.
The Tibetan Plateau is north of the Himalayas. It is the largest plateau in the world and nicknamed the "roof of the world". It is extremely cold and snowy. Herders here raise livestock such as yaks which provide meat, milk, and wool.
The Taklimakan Desert, Turfan Depression, and the Gobi Desert have extreme temperatures, are very dry, and have sandstorms which helped isolate Ancient China from invaders. Mongols lived in the Gobi Desert and were a threat, which is why the Great Wall was constructed.
China is a large country in east Asia divided into two regions. Outer China contains the Himalayas, the Tibetan Plateau, the Northwestern deserts, and the Northeastern Plain. Inner China has two main rivers: Huang He in the north through the North China Plain and Chang Jiang in the south, through the Chang Jiang Basins.
CHANG JIANG RIVER AND BASINS
GEOGRAPHY OF ANCIENT CHINA
HUANG HE RIVER AND NORTH CHINA PLAIN
The Northeastern Plain was dry and cold but the prairie grasses allowed settlers to herd sheep, goats, cattle, and horses. These people were nomadic with temporary tent homes that could be moved when food was scarce.
The Chang Jiang or Yangtze River is longer than the Huang He. Its name means "Long River." The Chang Jiang Basins that surround the river are warm, wet, and good for growing rice. The Yangtze also has many tributaries which made it useful for travel and transporting goods.
The Huang He (Yellow) River in the North China Plain provided fresh water, food, and transportation. Called the "cradle of Chinese civilization", is 3,395 miles long! It is also called "China's sorrow", as it was devastating when it intermittently flooded.