By: Gloria Massey, Farrington Grove School
Terre Haute, Indiana, June 30, 2000
Grade levels: K-3, three-day lesson plan
Purpose: In this multicultural study, children will become aware that they live on one planet but their festivals and holidays vary .The customs and beliefs of the Chinese people will become real and meaningful to children as they learn about and experience the Chinese New Year.
#1 How to use maps to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspectiveIndiana Social Studies Academic Standards:
#10 The characteristics, distribution, and complexity of earth's cultural mosaics
#18 How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future
The Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festive, is the most important holiday for the Chinese. The celebration begins on the first day of the lunar calendar (in mid-January or Mid-February) and lasts 15 days, beginning with New Year's Eve and ending with the lantern festival at the full moon. Since the holiday is so special, people start preparing for it ahead of time. A week before the holiday, people sweep out their homes to get rid of bad luck. People shop for new clothes and get their hair cut to begin the year with a fresh start. They also buy plants and blossoms for symbols of spring and birth, and foods like oranges for symbols of good fortune. The New Year's Day feast takes a long time to prepare. The menu for the meal is carefully planned to include many foods with special meanings. Families and friends gather together, give gifts, eat special foods, enjoy parades and watch fireworks. On the fifteenth day of the Spring Festival, the Chinese celebrate with a lantern festival. Lanterns of all shapes and sizes are hung everywhere to light the night sky.
Day 1- Locate China on a world map or globe. Have children color China on individual world maps. Read and discuss one of the books on customs of Chinese New Year. Have children make lanterns for the lantern festival to decorate the room. Start by using watercolors to paint Chinese motifs or an original design on 18 x 12 paper. Let dry overnight.
Day 2- Review from yesterday. Read another book on China. Put together lanterns:
Extensions: Have the children research other Chinese customs for the Spring Festival. What foods do the Chinese eat during the Spring Festival and why are they symbolic?
Evaluation: Have the children draw a picture and write a story
about how they would celebrate if they were in China for the Spring Festival.