Grades 3-5 Virginia

Chinese innovation

This inquiry provides students with an opportunity to examine nine of China’s most impactful innovations and their contributions to the modern world. These innovations and inventions fall into three categories: 1) Communication innovations including, written language, paper, and printing; 2) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) innovations including the compass, the Great Wall of China, gunpowder and fireworks, and; 3) Economic innovations including, common currency, silk, and the Silk Road.  The Communication innovations were the widest ranging chronologically with written language appearing in the Shang Dynasty (1,600-1,046 BCE) and paper-making not happening until 100 BCE in the Wu Dynasty and then printing in the Tang Dynasty in the 7th and 8th century CE. STEM innovations unfolded first with early fireworks and the parts of the Great Wall of China in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE). The compass was invented in China during the Han Dynasty between the 2nd century BC and 1st century AD. Gunpowder was developed in the Tang dynasty (9th century) and began to be used in rockets in the 13th century.  Economic innovations go all the way back to 3,000 BCE with the development of silk. Three thousand years later the Silk Road begins to open up and common currency appears with the Qin in 3rd century BCE.