6th Grade New York

China and Rome

In this inquiry, students examine the extent to which the Chinese and Romans had knowledge of and interacted with one another. Knowledge of one another accumulated over time, and a long history of interaction was part of the process that led to the establishment of regular trade and cultural relations along the Silk Road. This inquiry is about the historical antecedent to the Silk Road. The compelling question asks, “Did Chinese and Romans know each other?” Although this is a yes/no question, the complexity lies in between those poles. Students will likely find themselves answering “maybe” and needing to explain why.

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Compelling Question:

Did the Chinese and Romans Know Each Other?

Staging the Question: Create a map showing a route from home to school.
1

Supporting Question Where were the Roman and Chinese Empires located?

Formative Task Write a description of the relative locations and geographic features of the Roman and Chinese Empires.

Sources Source A: Outline map with general locations of the Roman and Chinese Empires
Source B: Detailed map of Roman and Chinese Empires

2

Supporting Question What did the Chinese know about the West?

Formative Task Start a T-chart that compares what the Romans and Chinese knew about each other.

Sources Source A: Description of the West by Sima Qian
Source B: Map bank: Maps of Chinese exploration
Source C: Description of Romans by Yu Huan

3

Supporting Question What did the Romans know about the East?

Formative Task Complete the T-chart that compares what the Romans and Chinese knew about each other.

Sources Source A: Description of China by Pliny the Elder
Source B: Excerpts from Ptolemy’s Geography

4

Supporting Question How did the Chinese and Romans interact with one another?

Formative Task Make a claim about how the Romans and Chinese interacted with each other.

Sources Source A: Map bank: 1st and 2nd Century CE Global Trade Route Maps

Summative Performance Task

Argument: Did Chinese and Romans know each other? Construct an argument (e.g., a speech, movie, poster, or essay) that explains to what extent the Chinese and Romans knew and interacted with each other using specific claims and relevant evidence from historical sources.
Extension: Create an annotated timeline that describes what Chinese and Roman historians and scholars wrote and drew about each other.

Taking Informed Action

Understand: Identify a culture or group of people in the world that students would like to know more about.
Assess: Create a set of questions that students would like to explore with people from that culture.
Act: Invite representatives of the selected group to visit the school, either in person or virtually.