Monday 16 September 2019

Project 102: China

We decided to pick a country for this week's project as it provided the opportunity to bring together a wide variety of different themes - from food and culture to geography and climate. The only problem is there are so many countries to pick from, and there always seems to be as many reasons not to do a country as do it: Would Italy be too close to the previous Project 89: The Romans? Can we study Germany without first doing World War II? and should we wait for Chinese New Year before looking at China? Finally, after much umming and erring, and despite reservations, we finally settled on China. After all, as the world's most populous country we can probably return to it in the future!

We mostly introduced the topic through the BBC's resources. Their useful (albeit archived) introduction to the language and a nice series of videos with children showing their lives in parts of China.

One child, when discussing the Chinese New Year mentioned the story of Nian, which Solomon remembered had also been on the CBeebies Storytime App, so we revisited that story too. 

The children also tried writing their own names in Chinese. As Solomon means peace, he opted for the Chinese symbols for peace. Monica went for the more literal transliteration of the 'Monica' sounds.  
'Solomon' and 'Monica'
We created our own blank 2-page factsheet that can be used for future country projects: 
Our first country factsheet
It was particularly nice that Journey to the West was identified for the literature question, which to people of a certain age is better known as Monkey! We watched both a cartoon version on Amazon Prime (in Chinese with subtitles) and the classic 1970s version:
We bought a nice activity book introducing the first 100 words of Chinese, that includes stickers, a CD and supposedly an app, but that is seemingly no longer available. Unsurprisingly there wasn't time to finish it in a week, but the children have agreed to work through it in exchange for more episodes of monkey. 
Fun and Easy Chinese
Of course you can't finish a project on China without some Chinese food, and although the local takeaway was a bit thin on stinky tofu and chicken feet, the children enjoyed their first Chinese (although unfortunately this does bring an end to their parents guilt-free late night Chinese takeaways).
Their First Chinese Takeaway
Next week's project: The Five Senses. 

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