Religions and Philosophies in China: Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism - SPICE

"The study of China is not complete without exploration of the historical roots and practice of its three main religions and philosophies: Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism. This curriculum unit uses a variety of activities and resources to learn about these world religions and philosophies in a Chinese context. Throughout each lesson, students are encouraged to compare and contrast each religion and philosophy as well as to think critically about the universality and modern-day applicability of their tenets." (text taken from SPICE)
Published 2002 (188 pages) For Middle School - Secondary students. Hardcover - $59.95 includes CD-ROM (37 images)/4 large illustrations/strand of Buddhist prayer beads
Year of Publication
Number of Pages
Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education
Citation Key
Curriculum Unit
Average: 2.5 (2 votes)


Please login to review this resource

Religions and Philosophies in China from SPICE

Field of Interest/Specialty: World Cultures
Posted On: 01/01/2016

Maura D'Alo
10th grade World Cultures
Mt Lebanon
This curriculum unit is very well organized and nicely laid out. It has a very detailed background section on each of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Each part also has lesson plans and supplemental materials, however it is way out of date. The materials of CD ROM and transparencies are outdated and time would need to be spent to have these items converted to images of use. I also think it shows its age because there is no supplement about the implication of today's modern China and the impact of these philosophies on the average person today. With that being said I think that the bones of the material are very good and very accessible for use in a 10th grade classroom.
I particularly liked the unit on Daoism and Buddhism because I think it has materials that are helpful for students who have very limited prior knowledge of these systems of thoughts. The Confucian unit seems to be a little more abstract and needs modifications for the average student. In my course of World Cultures, which has an emphasis on religion and philosophy this curriculum unit fits in perfectly with my lessons. I would like to use some the comparisons charts and venn diagrams to help students understand the relationship between these religions/philosophies.
Overall, I think this a good resource even if its only used as background information for the teacher.

Religions and Philosophies in China

Field of Interest/Specialty: Social Studies
Posted On: 06/01/2013

Jeff Sposito
Sharpsville High School
12th Grade Psychology
Review of Religions and Philosophies in China Unit Plan
The Religion and Philosophies in China unit is a great unit plan with very thought provoking lesson plans for higher level geography classes or history classes, perhaps even AP level. The lessons require a solid foundation in many concepts beyond Confucianism, Buddhism, or Shintoism. That being said, It can be used for high school levels, and perhaps tailored to middle school, but this unit is high level.
I personally cannot find much use for it in my general psychology class. It would require too much preparation and research work to implement for my own curriculum. However, the unit can be a useful tool for a psychology class at the AP or college level. I find the background to be too time consuming because of the requirement of knowing not only about the aforementioned Chinese religions, but also a working knowledge of Marx, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Locke, and Aquinas. In a psychology class, there is ample material devoted to Socrates and Aristotle, but NOTHING on the others, thus it would be difficult to integrate.
The unit also seems to put a higher priority on the philosophical over the religious. Whereas there is much comparison to the philosophers, there is not much to Christ. When talking about religion, this is the perspective that a vast majority of students can relate to. Nor is there much about Moses or Muhammed--material in which the students have more of a familiarity with. Once again, a great unit for a class with a great deal of background. Not a great unit to be used as a supplement to learn another subject area.
I was also very impressed by the sheer variety of lessons--something that is so important to high school students. Three of the lessons that stood out (that would capture student interest) are the food lesson, the skits, and the role play that puts the students in the role of Confucius. The food lesson is great to give the students a number of lessons in culture (both current and past), as well as socioeconomic lessons--comparing the higher classes to the lower classes. The students can also compare their diets with that of the ancient civilizations. The skits and the role play are also great ways for students to synthesize information and learn empathy for these people. Many of our students need to break out of their 21st century, western cultural perspective, and put themselves into situations and live the lives these people lived.
Great lessons, to say the least! A very intense unit, not for a supplemental lesson, but for a course more geared toward geography and/or history of that area/region.