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The Chinese Cultural Revolution: Dynamic Times, Dramatic Lessons for Today’s Kids

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The lesson plans presented here could be used in a high school World History course as part of a larger unit on the People’s Republic of China. Prerequisite understandings would include: 1) basic concepts of comparative governments, 2) the impact of Western imperialism on China, 3) an overview of twentieth-century Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing or Manchu dynasty in 1911 to the establishment of the PRC in 1949, and 4) the successes and failures of Maoist China prior to 1966.

Mindful of various teaching styles and the differences in student populations, the attached handouts can be used in a number of ways in your classroom. Each handout explains one aspect of the Cultural Revolution and presents a firsthand account of its impact. When examined as a set, an overview should emerge. Hopefully, one of the lesson plans below will be successful in your classroom, provoking discussion and promoting understanding.