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Earliest Civilisations: Shang Dynasty
Farming and Food

Discover the farming and cookery of the Shang Dynasty. Explore farming practices, ingredients, and the importance of the silk worm in this early civilisation. Try painting on silk.

Session 1 Where does food come from?

Objectives

History

  • Children should undertake a depth study of The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China.

Design and Technology

  • Know where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.

Science

  • Find out and describe how plants need water, light and a suitable temperature to grow and stay healthy.
  • Describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals.

Teaching and Activities

Learn about farming and cooking in China; recreate the irrigation farming of the Shang Dynasty in miniature.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To explore how food was grown and processed in the Shang Dynasty.
  • To explore how food is grown and processed today.
  • To understand what plants and animals need to grow and develop.

Children will:

  • Describe what plants and animals need to grow.
  • Describe the growing and processing of plants and animals.
  • Recreate irrigation farming of the Shang Dynasty in miniature.

You Will Need

  • Trays
  • Compost
  • Clay
  • Gravel
  • Water
  • Seeds

Session 2 Shang food

Objectives

History

  • Children should undertake a depth study of The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China.

Design and Technology

  • Know where and how a variety of ingredients are grown, reared, caught and processed.

Teaching and Activities

Describe ingredients. Devise a Shang recipe of your own using a selection of ingredients that the Shang farmers would have grown.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To make some food available in the Shang dynasty.
  • To explore raw ingredients and make some food.

Children will:

  • Describe the ingredients.
  • Devise a recipe of their own using a selection of ingredients.
  • Observe safe and hygienic cooking practices.
  • Learn to follow a recipe.

Provided Resources

  • Ingredients available to peasants in the Shang Dynasty’ sheet
  • Sample recipe template
  • Some additional recipes

You Will Need

  • Selection of ingredients
  • Cooking utensils
  • A kitchen

Session 3 Silkworms

Objectives

History

  • Children should undertake a depth study of The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China.

Science

  • Describe the differences in the life cycles of a mammal, an amphibian, an insect and a bird.

Teaching and Activities

Investigate the life cycles of different classes of organisms; research the life-cycle of the silkworm; discover how silk is made from silkworms and was harvested by Shang farmers.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To learn about silkworms.
  • To explore the life cycle of some of the Shang's crops and animals.

Children will:

  • Depict the life-cycles of different classes of organisms.
  • Discuss the differences between the life-cycles of different classes of organisms.
  • Describe how silk is made from silkworms.
  • Explain some of the methods of Shang farmers.

You Will Need

You do not need any particular resources for this session.

Session 4 Inspired by the Shang

Objectives

History

  • Children should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information.

Art

  • Improve their mastery of art and design techniques, including drawing, painting and sculpture with a range of materials.

Teaching and Activities

Look back at what you have learnt about Shang farming and the silk worm; compose and paint a picture of an aspect of this series of sessions onto silk.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To choose an aspect of Shang farming to paint on a piece of silk.
  • To paint on silk.

Children will:

  • Choose historical information to depict in a piece of artwork.
  • Sketch a plan of the artwork.
  • Paint on silk.

You Will Need

  • Pieces of white silk or polyester
  • Silk paint
  • Silk resist
  • Cardboard frames