Confucianism Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught history, and has an MA in Islamic law/finance. He has since founded his own financial advice firm, Newton Analytical.

Teach your students with this lesson on Confucianism, one of the most important guiding philosophies in world history. Engage students with an activity that asks them to compare Legalist and Confucian concepts.

Lesson Objectives

By the end of this lesson students will be able to:

  • explain the major concepts of Confucianism
  • relate the teachings of Confucianism to both personal and social precepts


40 minutes, plus 30 minutes for activity

Curriculum Standards


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.


  • Copies of your school's disciplinary handbook, particularly the rulebook that lists behaviors students should not engage in.

Key Vocabulary

  • Confucius
  • Li
  • Ren


  • Begin by describing China during the time of Confucius. Make it clear to students that China during the time of Confucius was a chaotic place with little respect for rule of law.
  • Watch the lesson Confucianism: Definition, Beliefs & History. Instruct students to write notes on vocabulary as needed. Stop for discussion at these points:
    • 1:54--Compare and contrast the founding of Confucianism with Abrahamic religions that you may be familiar with (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). How are they similar? How are they different?
    • 3:37--Why do you think that Confucianism emphasized relationships between people? How would Confucianism be different is it had an emphasis on relationships with a deity-like figure?
    • 4:23--Compare this idea of inner cultivation to Western ideas like the Golden Rule. What do you find?

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account