Episode 103: Classroom Resources (Classical East)

Hello teachers! On this page you’ll find resources for extending the conversations from the podcast into your classroom. Ideas and instructions are explained below but you can also find all resources that were created by me in my Google Drive folder that I have made public for you to use!

Episode 103: The Classical era in the east, or “they built a great wall and made the huns pay for it!”
  • In-depth: Chinese Philosophy Mini-Debates

    103 – Confucianism handout
    103 – Daoism handout
    103 – Legalism handout

    1. In advance, split your class into three groups and have them read and annotate their primary source (can be given as homework in advance or done within their group)
      • Confucians (40% of class)
      • Legalists (40% of class)
      • Daoists (20% of class)
    2. After they have read and annotated their reading on their own, they should get with their groups to discuss. Make sure everyone understands the main ideas of their philosophy and gets questions answered about the reading.
    3. Explain to each group that they will be preparing for a debate over which philosophy is the best for governance: Confucianism or Legalism? The Daoists will serve as the judges, since they do not involve themselves with politics. Instead of one large class debate, you will be dividing the students into small groups for a “mini-debate.” (For example, in a class of 30 I would have 6 groups, each with 1 Daoist judging 2 Confucians versus 2 Legalists.)
    4. Each of the three groups should prepare for their debates, keeping in mind that they will be debating in pairs (or groups of three depending on the math). So everyone needs to be well versed in their group’s philosophy and main arguments. Give your students as much time as you think they need – I typically give one class period for steps 2-4.
      • Confucians & Legalists are preparing arguments (with supporting historical evidence) of why their philosophy is the best for governance.
      • Daoists are preparing questions for the Confucians and Legalists since they will be moderating and judging the debates.
    5. Mini-Debates: Organize your classroom into small groups with the Confucians and Legalists facing each other and the Daoist at the end. Each Daoist is responsible for moderating their own debate – moving on to a new topic/question if they decide it has been covered, asking probing questions if one side didn’t address everything, etc. (Your class will be appropriately chaotic!) As the teacher, you get to wander and listen in on each debate.
    6. After the debates are over, each Daoist will announce who won their debate and give the strongest argument that was made in their group.
    7. To conclude, have students pick the philosophy they actually think is the best for governance (it can be different from the one they were assigned). I have students move around the room and then I ask a few students to justify their choice.
  • At the end of the Classical Unit: Classical Leader Campaign Project
    *This is one of my FAVORITE projects we do all year!

    103 – Classical Leader Campaign Project Instructions
    103 – Classical Campaign RUBRIC
    103 – Classical Campaign SAQ

    1. Assign students to be the campaign team for a classical leader where they will try to win the title of “Best Classical Leader”. Detailed instructions are posted above!
    2. In my AP World History class, 15% of their grade was a short answer question that they answered individually after all groups had presented. Feel free to adjust – but it’s nice to have them do something with the information they learned from other presentations. (Class discussion, compare/contrast essay, etc.)