Following the Great Wall of China

The famous Great Wall of China, which was built to keep the China’s horse-riding neighbors at bay, extends more than 2,000 kilometers across China, from Heilongjiang province by Korea to China’s westernmost province of Xinjiang. The wall that is so well known today is predominantly a product of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), though the building of fortified walls to protect territory along the northern frontier stretching from Manchuria to Central Asia is a practice whose roots go back to the Qin dynasty of the 3rd century BCE. This lesson will investigate the building of the Great Wall during the Ming Dynasty, and will utilize the story of the wall as a tool for introducing students to one period in the rich history of China.

Guiding Questions

What does the history of the Great Wall tell us about Chinese history and culture?

What can we learn about China and its neighbors from studying the Great Wall?

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson students will be able to:

Be more familiar with Chinese geography by mapping the path of the wall.

Explain the construction of the Great Wall as a product of the period in which it was built.

Discuss in brief the dynasty- the Ming Dynasty- during which major construction on the wall was completed.

Identify reasons for the dedication of significant resources to the construction of the wall.

Discuss in brief China’s neighbors to the north, in particular the Mongols and Manchus.