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Teaching Guide

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Searching for China

Revision Update:

Please check out the array of new activities about China found on the new Searching for China homepage.

Introduction | The Task | The Process | Resources | Learning Advice | Conclusion
| HyperText Dictionary |

 An Introduction

As you already know, China is a majestic country with a long history and many secrets. You may even be an experienced traveler who has already visited the incredible tourist attractions available on a whirlwind tour. If not, you might want to take a brief virtual tour:

But beyond the tourist stops lies another China, a country more complex than the majestic, timeless China of our history books. Currently, the people of China are experiencing great economic changes and social turmoil (click on "turmoil" for a definition). You might think, "Too bad for them" and go on your way. But given the fact that China has one of the world's fastest growing economies, a potentially unstable centralized government, and a history as both conqueror and victim, it would be wise to put our minds and spirits to the task of "Searching for China."

Introduction | The Task | The Process | Resources | Learning Advice | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary

 The Task

The United States government feels very strongly about the need to understand China. To do this effectively, a plenipotentiary (use the dictionary?) is selecting a special team that will travel to China to investigate the country, the people, and the culture. Instead of only sending diplomats, the plenipotentiary decides to create a team from very different backgrounds, hoping that this strategy will give the most accurate and informed perspective. Therefore, it's decided that the team needs a:

Your task in "Searching for China" is to join a team and take on one of the roles listed above. You and your teammates will work together to create a Special Report for the American people (also known as your classmates) that makes sense of the complex country that is China. You might want to read a Guide to Tourists before you embark on your journey.

Introduction | The Task | The Process | Resources | Learning Advice | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary

 The Process

Who are the Chinese people? What makes them tick? Is this as easy of a question as it sounds? Think about how difficult it would be for someone to describe you or your family. Are you a person who is always the same way? Aren't you sometimes happy, sometimes sad? Sometimes friendly, sometimes angry? Sometimes giving, sometimes selfish? We all go through changes of emotions, attitudes, and ideas throughout our lives. Think about groups of people. Wouldn't you expect them to be complex and changing, too? Now think about China with over 1 billion people (more than 4 times the population of the United States!). Is it any wonder that to individuals in the western hemisphere, the Chinese are viewed as an inscrutable (use the dictionary?) people?

Faced with the difficulty of understanding something as complex as a nation, you might just want to give up. Sometimes in life you have that choice. But to give up trying to understand the Chinese would mean giving up chances to benefit financially, to help people fight against oppression, to save some of the world's greatest treasures, to protect the safety and security of millions of people, or to enlighten people's lives with greater religious insight. You see, you can't give up.

So if we're faced with a difficult challenge, we must:

These are the suggested strategies for success in "Searching for China."


  1. Decide who will take which role in your team. You may work with a partner acting as one role depending on how many computers/resources you have available.
  2. Once you have decided on who is taking which of the roles in your team, open the dossier (dictionary?) for your role by clicking on the appropriate manilla envelope above.
  3. Read the contents of the dossier to get a feel for your individual task. Analyze how your role relates to the other members of the special team.
  4. Create a personal search plan or use the "Game Plan" provided to brainstorm a list of the types of resources/information that you think would be useful to gain your insights on the Chinese people. Note: (If you use the "Game Plan," skip down to "On the Net: Virtual Investigation").
  5. Explore the "Resources" below (as well as any available at headquarters - i.e., the classroom) to see which might match with your brainstormed list.
  6. Note the name of the internet/classroom resources next to your brainstormed list.
  7. Add any internet resources that you think might be valuable for your search.
  8. If you are using the HyperStudio Role and Special Report stacks, open your copy now and use it to input your answers and artifacts. Do you need to download a self-extracting archive of these stacks? (242K).

On the Net: Virtual Investigation

  1. Explore the resources that you think would be most appropriate for your branch.
  2. Collect (Copy & Paste) the three artifacts (picture or text) that you think represent the topic you are exploring. Remember to keep track of the URL (the code that appears in the "Location" line in the browser).
  3. For each artifact, make sure you know why you believe it is a good example for the topic.
  4. Answer the "Status Report" and "Values Assessment" questions in your dossier.
  5. Once you have finished your search, choose the single best artifact for your topic.

As a Team of Experts

  1. Bring the five best artifacts together and examine them as a team.
  2. Each expert must explain the significance of his or her artifact.
  3. Complete the "Belief System" section in your dossiers.

The "Action Plan"
Now you must discuss, persuade, argue, deal, and brainstorm a team action plan. As it says in your dossier, you as an expert want to find the best solution for your topic. The problem arises that what is good for business is not always good for human rights. What is good for museums is not always good for religious temples. What's good for peace and stability may not be good for business or freedom of speech. The world is waiting for your report. We know the answers are not easy. That's why they are real!
Attention: You are not "playing school." The future could depend on you and your ability to understand and communicate. You can do it!

The Special Report
If you were using the HyperSudio "Special Report" stack, then your artifacts can be pasted onto the card(s) that correspond to your role. If you have not used HyperStudio, you may create a butcher paper wall mural, a group newsletter, an infomercial, or a special report to congress depending upon the learning outcomes you want to develop and the plenipotenciary's (your teacher's) requirements.

Introduction | The Task | The Process | Resources | Learning Advice | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary


Use the resources below to conduct your search. There are no right answers to this exploration; Westerners have been trying to understand the Chinese people and culture for centuries. See if you can add some real understanding and insight to the East-West Discussion.

 Books, Texts, and References

 Newspaper Reports


 Musical Recordings

Information of Special Interest

 Reports from World-Wide "Watch" Organizations

 Facts and Statistics about Populations & Countries

 Letters & Messages from People

Introduction | The Task | The Process | Resources | Learning Advice | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary

 Learning Advice

Because your task is to create an integrated Action Plan that harmonizes the various interests of politicians, anthropologists, religious worshippers and the world's business and human rights communities, you team is faced with a very difficult, very real task. Therefore, for your team's project to really come together, you must work together to:

  1. Integrate each of the five separate Action Plans into one "Special Report."
  2. Prioritize what you think the most important issues are. This will take some detailed and supported discussion among team members.
  3. Identify the two or three most important issues.
  4. Develop a main strategy that addresses these top two - three issues and that sets forth a series of steps for how the U.S. should deal with China in order to improve the situation.
  5. Order a series of steps that shows the Action Plan you suggest the United States take.
  6. Explain where compromises took place and why you made the decisions you did. For example, if you choose to promote business investment, show why this is more important than focusing first on human rights violations.
  7. Create an informative and engaging presentation of your "Special Report." You can do this with your HyperStudio stack or in one of the other formats mentioned in the "Process" section above.

Some questions for you and your teammates to explore at the end of the WebQuest are:

Introduction | The Task | The Process | Resources | Learning Advice | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary


In the United States of 1995,

You now have a better understanding of the Chinese people than the vast majority of United States citizens. There is a saying, "Knowledge is Power." Now that you have this power, what will you do?

Introduction | The Task | The Process | Resources | Learning Advice | Conclusion | HyperText Dictionary

Education First - Pacific Bell -

Last revised August 6, 1997
Tom March,
Applications Design Team/Wired Learning
© 1996 Pacific Bell -- All Rights Reserved