China’s Cultural Revolution

"The Cultural Revolution in China (1966-1976) was a decade of enormous change and upheaval with a lasting impact on the country, its citizens, and the world. China’s Cultural Revolution teaches students about the social, cultural, educational, political, and economic changes through hands-on activities requiring critical thinking skills." (text taken from SPICE)
Published2005For Secondary students.Softcover - $59.95includes CD-ROM with 29 images/audio CD/book: Red Scarf Girl
Year of Publication
Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE)
Citation Key
Curriculum Unit
Average: 4.4 (9 votes)


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China's Cultural Revolution-SPICE

Field of Interest/Specialty: literature/social studies
Posted On: 01/10/2018

This unit is teacher-friendly and easy to navigate through the materials about China's Cultural Revolution. The wide array of information is compiled by curriculum specialists, educators, and includes contributions from author Ji-li Jiang. In addition, many individuals who lived through the revolution share their powerful stories in memoirs within the unit that add insight and the human element that make the historical event of the cultural revolution so poignant and compelling. The unit is one that will engage students because of the authentic materials included. The materials range from handouts of timelines to text that explain key events and happenings. The text has effective follow-up questions that allow students the opportunity to respond and react to the information in the text/handout. Transparencies with explicit and well-organized information about key events are also included. There are fun ways to engage the students to review the information in other than answering questions via pencil-paper format. There are timeline cards with information that can be matched independently or with groups of students. Historical songs are included that allow the students to interpret and perform in class. The variety of materials gives the students exciting lessons to relate to rather than just facts to memorize. Since there are so many facts and events to recall, a textbook based approach may dampen the interest that could be harnessed instead from a unit such as this one. The authentic information that is included through the primary sources is an integral element of this effective unit. Teachers of middle school through high school will find that the information can be used as a stand-alone unit or in addition to a social studies or history textbook. It is a rigorous unit of information that creates the opportunities for students to not only recall information and facts, but to analyze and synthesize the information presented and then to evaluate, interpret, and assess the information given throughout the unit. All the materials are provided for teachers so that it is not necessary to search for additional information to ensure thorough lessons. The information that is included is also aligned with curriculum standards as defined by the National Center for History in the Schools and the National Council for the Social Studies and is appropriate for grades 7-12.
The unit is organized into lessons 1 through 5. A background that organizes the lesson into easy to read points will enable the teacher to access organizing questions, an introduction to the lesson, objectives, materials included, teacher preparation, time, procedures, and assessments. Lesson 1 gives students an introduction into the term "revolution" and some background of the events of the Cultural Revolution. Students also have to analyze events to determine of they could be considered a revolution.
Lesson 2 contains many primary sources to examine and experience. Personal memoirs are a powerful source in this lesson.
Lesson 3 utilizes propaganda art and posters from China to interpret the Revolution.
Lesson 4 utilizes the novel Red Scarf Girl to examine how young people reacted and responded the Cultural Revolution.Students are able to create exhibits based on the family's experience in the book. Students are also able to write a memoir of their own from the perspective of another character in the book.
Lesson 5 examines how the Cultural Revolution is interpreted from the perspectives of textbooks in Taiwan, China, and the United States.

China's Cultural Revolution Curriculum Unit Review

Field of Interest/Specialty: World History
Posted On: 01/03/2016

Erin Breault
AP World History
Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12
Curriculum Unit Review
SPICE: China’s Cultural Revolution
I agree with Reed Miller’s comprehensive review of this unit. I concur with Miller’s observation that the range of provided primary sources, including government documents, quotations from Chairman Mao, letters, memoirs, images and song lyrics is invaluable for high school history learners. I was particularly struck by the fifth lesson which focuses on the legacy of the Cultural Revolution utilizing Chinese, Taiwanese, and American textbook excerpts. This is an engaging way to demonstrate the power of multiple perspectives when examining historical events.
Furthermore, Lesson Five can be utilized to teach the historical thinking skill of synthesis, one of several skills stressed by the College Board for advanced placement history classes. However, because this unit is at least 10 years old, I would enhance Lesson Five by adding more recently published scholarly articles that reflect current academic debate on what exactly characterized China’s Cultural Revolution, why it unfolded the way it did and its legacy for China.
For instance, Jin Qiu writes in The Culture of Power (Palo Alto, 1999) that the Cultural Revolution was essentially contradictory. It was led by an all-powerful leader, but was driven by a series of grassroots-led popular uprisings against the Communist establishment. Other writers, MacFarquhar and Schoenhals argue in Mao’s Last Revolution (Cambridge, 2006) that the Cultural Revolution was not merely a war over ideological purity, or a power struggle to remove Mao’s rivals. They point out such important contextual factors including China’s relationship with the global Communist movement, geopolitical concerns, the rift with the Soviet Union, and the failures of the Great Leap Forward. Interestingly, historian, Mobo Gao, has challenged the mainstream, typically negative portrayal of the Cultural Revolution and contends that agricultural and industrial workers benefited from the Revolution, citing the continued Maoist nostalgia in China today. (The Battle for China’s Past, Pluto Press, 2008.)
Students then, would benefit enormously from discussion of both the high school-level textbook excerpts cited in the SPICE curriculum unit, and these high-level scholarly secondary sources. Indeed, students would be engaging in synthesis of the various arguments presented.

China's Cultural Revolution

Field of Interest/Specialty: Geography
Posted On: 10/25/2015

Sue Fink
6th Grade World Geography
China's Cultural Revolution
China's Cultural Revolution Curriculum provides five lessons thoroughly covering China's Cultural Revolution and incorporating Ji-Li Jian's Red Scarf Girl autobiography. The curriculum provides students with the causes and the impacts of the cultural revolution. Historical timelines help to provide background for a more solid understanding of the events.
Lesson one defines the term "revolution" and offers a handout which is a scrambles timeline activity of 20th Century China. There is detailed explanation of each important event which gives teachers plenty of factual information to use with students or use to incorporate Webb's Depth of Knowledge to increase rigor extending students thinking tasks.
Lesson two looks at the major events and changes with Chairman Mao's polices. This lesson provides numerous Primary Sources to use within the classroom, photos, songs, exercises, and personal experiences. The guide also provides thoughtful insight for the documents. Students again are challenged to exercise better understanding as they are asked to explain and share documents in a meaningful manner. The curriculum is designed to use a number of learning styles so teachers can customize instruction for all students in a multiple lever classroom to succeed. There are group performances, website layout, as well as individual responses.
Lesson three looks at the images of the Cultural Revolution through the propaganda posters. In analyzing these images students will again be able to extend their thinking incorporating Webb's highest level of Depth of Knowledge. Background and questions are also included in the guide for these images.
Lesson four incorporates the autobiography by Ji-Li Jiang Red Scarf Girl. During this lesson students will create an exhibit to present to classmates. This activity encourages active participation for students on multiple levels. Options for this exhibit are to create a song, political cartoon, stamp, editorial for a newspaper, diary entry, poster, create a model of the Jiang house, a drawing, or design a memorial wall. So many of the learning styles are incorporated in this instructional curriculum making the task of differentiating instruction manageable.
Lesson five looks at the legacy of the Cultural Revolution and the influence, effects, and lesson learned by China and areas outside of China. Some of the material in this lesson is from China, Taiwan, and the United States for student to compare and contrast (again incorporating Webb's Knowledge of Depth to increase rigor) the emphasis given to different topics in the different countries school textbooks.
I would not use the entire curriculum for my sixth grade world geography class but would recommend it for a high school class that spends a significant amount of time studying China. I would use some of the lessons at the middle school level.

China's Cultural Revolution

Field of Interest/Specialty: History
Posted On: 01/03/2015

Lisa Sydeski
Grade 10/11/12 Shaping the Modern World
Thomas Jefferson High School
Shaping the Modern World is a course that attempts to explain “Why our world is the way it is today?” In the last 100 years, the world has experienced dizzying technological progress, yet age-old scourges of war, famine, disease, and revolution which continue to shape the development of mankind. Paradoxically, the 20th century witnessed one of the most "progressive" yet “destructive” centuries in history.
Within this context, I chose to exam the Chinese Cultural Revolution curriculum unit as a part of a larger East Asia Unit.
The unit was published by SPICE or Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education. The program is a great resource for teachers since it helps to promote a deeper understanding of Chinese culture, history, and contemporary issues. There is a diverse set of lessons and curriculum tools to help bring China to life in K-12 classrooms. The supplemental materials include a wealth of primary sources, song lyrics, key terms, timelines, propaganda images, and graphic organizers. The unit provides more than enough sources that can be selected and facilitated by the classroom teacher to adapt to various different curricular standards and levels.
The unit will be incorporated into a larger unit created to provide students with a greater understanding of 20th Century China. The lessons include geography, religion, and reform versus revolution. The plan is to implement the curriculum unit into the Shaping the Modern World course next year. Students will read Red Scarf Girl and Son of the Revolution in conjunction with the resources provided in the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The resources will be adapted to include student examination of the definition of revolution, key terms, selected primary documents, propaganda, and song lyrics. Additionally, one of the other lessons included in the unit is a comparative analysis of textbooks and their portrayal of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in China, Taiwan, and the United States. These types of lessons are insightful and help to provide students with a deeper understanding of the causes, events, and outcome of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the larger context of China in the 20th century.

Global Revolutions in the Spanish classroom

Field of Interest/Specialty: Spanish
Posted On: 01/02/2015

Review by Bryan Hanrahan, Spanish Teacher, Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School
Despite a lack of crossover between my Spanish curriculum and this curriculum unit, I was interested in learning more about the Chinese Cultural Revolution to see if there existed any similarities between the two regimes led by Mao Zedong and Francisco Franco. After browsing through the materials and lesson plans, information from this unit could supplement my lessons when covering the contemporary history of Spain.
During the 1900s, there existed many power struggles both intranationally and internationally around the world. This includes the World Wars, the Franco Era in Spain, the Cold War, and the Chinese Cultural Revolution to name a few. I would use some of the materials from this unit like the propaganda posters and timeline to help the students understand the global picture during this time period. Moreover, I would like to have the students research for any potential connections between the dictatorships throughout the world and present their findings. I would also take this as an opportunity to teach the students about Spanish vocabulary surrounding global politics including nationalities, war terms, and political terms. Due to the level of difficulty of ideas and advanced vocabulary, I would maybe teach this to high level seniors in the Spanish classroom. This potential unit would be great to teach at the college level in Spanish.
In terms of the amount of materials and lessons, the curriculum unit is a wonderful resource. I could not imagine teaching all of the material in the same fashion suggested by the unit; the amount of preparation for the teacher and work for the students seemed a little overwhelming. However, as previous reviewers mentioned the work can be adapted and differentiated to meet the needs of the learners and different teaching styles. The unit provides a wide array of activities and visual resources to go with it including propaganda artwork, songs from the era, and a timeline to better understand cause and effect. Moreover, the unit has group and independent work for students as they gain a better understanding of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Overall, I find this to be an incredibly useful resource and would definitely implement certain aspects into both a social studies and Spanish classroom.

Cultural Revolution Curriculum Unit Review

Field of Interest/Specialty: history
Posted On: 06/01/2011

Names: Kierah Hanna and Matt Martocci
School: Upper St. Clair High School
Course/Grade Level Taught: Honors/MYP World History – 10th Grade
Curriculum Unit: China’s Cultural Revolution developed by SPICE (2005)
Suitable Grade Levels: Grades 7-12 (note: SPICE suggests grades 9-12, Advanced Placement classes and community college). Although the reading materials are at an advanced high school level, with the appropriate adaptations, the activities and resources could be utilized at the middle school level or in a differentiated instruction setting by all ability levels.
Unit Review:
China’s Cultural Revolution Unit includes five lessons designed to provide students with an understanding of the causes, course and impact of the Cultural Revolution. Part of the unit incorporates Ji Li Jiang’s text Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution (1997). The individual lessons and resources provide an immense amount of background knowledge and interesting primary sources to utilize in the classroom. The unit is worth purchasing for just the primary sources (Audio CD on daily exercises practiced during the Cultural Revolution, Image CD of 30 Cultural Revolution propaganda posters, 10+ revolutionary song lyrics, excerpts of writings/speeches from Lin Biao and Mao Zedong and first hand accounts of Chinese citizens experiences during the Cultural Revolution) and overview articles/timelines. In the overview articles, key terms are defined in the margins – a helpful aspect for readers with limited background knowledge. Although the lesson plans are at times complicated and require extended amounts of time, they vary in instructional strategies and learning modalities.
We found that the unit lessons and resources became a useful springboard for developing our own personalized lessons that fit with our teaching styles, students’ abilities and classroom environments. For example, in the academic level sections of World History, we adapted lesson one from the unit to match the ability levels of the students. The overview article on the Cultural Revolution was broken into smaller articles and read/paraphrased as a part of a jigsaw activity. Additionally, in the academic level sections of World History, we utilized lesson three, simply reducing the number of propaganda posters students were required to analyze. An interesting anticipatory set to a lesson could utilize one propaganda poster as an image/observation analysis activity.
Lesson Overviews:
Lesson One - The unit opens with a lesson over viewing key events, people and concepts in 20th century Chinese history. To introduce the topic, the developers suggest defining/discussing the term revolution and then examining events in Chinese history, identify how the events fit into the definition of a revolution. Then, students read an overview article on the Cultural Revolution.
Lesson Two - The second lesson covers the chronology of the Cultural Revolution and utilizes primary source documents to reflect the revolutionary nature of Mao’s ideas and the impact they had on Chinese society at the time. Using brief description cards on key Cultural Revolution events, student arrange the cards in correct chronological order. After a discussion/review the chronology of events, students work in pairs to examine revolutionary songs and quotations by Mao Zedong. Finally, students read personal accounts on individuals who lived through the Cultural Revolution, gaining knowledge on the impact of revolution on Chinese citizens.
Lesson Three - In the third lesson, students analyze propaganda posters from the Cultural Revolution, synthesizing knowledge gained in the previous activities and interpretations of visual material.
Lesson Four - In the fourth lesson, students first read and discuss Ji Li Jiang’s text Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution. The unit provides a reading guide, discussion questions and a culminating project that correspond with the text. In the culminating project, students construct ‘museum exhibits’ on the Cultural Revolution, including CCP revolutionary song, political cartoon, a newspaper editorial or diary and dazibao (revolutionary poster) or sculpture to commemorate the experiences of Chinese citizens.
Lesson Five - The unit closes with a lesson on the legacy and long term effects of the Cultural Revolution. By examining high school textbooks excerpts on the Cultural Revolution published in the United States, Taiwan and China, students research and present information on impact and influence of the Cultural Revolution on multiple societies.

Middle School history teacher's review of curriculum _China's Cultural Revolution_

Field of Interest/Specialty: East/SE Asia & Global Studies
Posted On: 06/09/2010

Michael-Ann Cerniglia
Grade 6 History Teacher (World Geography and Culture: Eastern Hemisphere)
Sewickley Academy
The curriculum, China’s Cultural Revolution, is published by Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE) and incorporates the memoir Red Scarf Girl, by Ji-Li Jiang. China’s Cultural Revolution, begins with a lesson by lesson overview and identifies connections to National History and National Council for the Social Studies Standards. As a previous reviewer wrote, China’s Cultural Revolution —like other SPICE programs—is rich with primary sources and supplemental materials that allow you to augment curriculum with literature, audio, visual, and historic documents, which can be hand-picked for various age groups. In this case, China’s Cultural Revolution provides a CD of images with corresponding descriptions and a graphic organizer for note-taking, a translated broadcast of Chinese daily exercises with visual prompts and CD audio, separate glossaries of relevant terms and key leaders, historic timelines, lyrics of revolutionary songs, and personal essays such as “Burning Books.”
Having used Red Scarf Girl as an enrichment text in the past, it will be incorporated into our general curriculum next fall for grade 6 students as a joint English-history unit. It is an excellent memoir for students to analyze the historic and political trends of the Cultural Revolution, as well as for students’ understanding of how power develops and empathy for people who endure abuse of power. In addition to a mini-unit about propaganda posters, the resources available in China’s Cultural Revolution will greatly enrich the unit on China and enable students to understand some very complex ideas which will contribute to their understanding of the world today, such as “cult of personality” and “enemy of the state.”

China's Cultural Revolution

Field of Interest/Specialty:
Posted On: 06/08/2010

Tons of material to use as a whole unit, or to choose from to use as parts of other lessons. Please see the uploaded contribution on this page for more information. (Reed Miller)

Great Content

Field of Interest/Specialty:
Posted On: 06/01/2010