Ancient Chinese Inventions Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Explore ancient Chinese inventions with your students and this lesson plan. Students will read a text lesson, get busy with active application, then do a project that applies learning. Test student understanding with a follow-up quiz.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify items invented by the ancient Chinese
  • explain how and why ancient Chinese inventions are useful today


1 - 1.5 hours

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.2

Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3

Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.


  • Copies of the lesson Ancient China's Inventions: Lesson for Kids, one for each student
  • Newspaper
  • Blender
  • Water
  • Screen
  • Needle
  • Magnet
  • Cork
  • Toilet tissue rolls
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Glue
  • Hole-punch
  • Paper plates
  • Brads
  • Bowl
  • Tissue paper
  • Rubber bands
  • Index cards
  • Poster board
  • Tape
  • Compass

Key Vocabulary

  • Gunpowder
  • Pulp
  • Compass


  • Set up four stations in your classroom, one for each of the inventions listed in this lesson, as follows:
    • Fireworks - Stock with construction paper, toilet-tissue rolls, scissors, glue, hole punch, and markers
    • Paper - Set up to make paper with the blender, newspaper, water, and screen
    • Compass - Make a compass using a bowl of water, needle, cork, and magnet
    • Clock - Stock with paper plates, construction paper, scissors, brads, and markers

The compass and paper stations will need adult supervision.

Direct Instruction

  • Distribute the lesson Ancient China's Inventions: Lesson for Kids and read it together with students.
  • After reading, divide students into four groups and send each group to a station.
  • Complete each station by asking students to write a short story about their experience with fireworks, paper, compasses, and clocks on an index card, including a thank-you to the ancient Chinese for inventing.
  • Place a poster board in each center and have each student add their index card.

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