ancient china museum

team curiosity hosts expo of info

“Ancient Chinese made armor out of rawhide and tortoise shells,” said Colin.

“They would put a plate of lotus seeds and pomegranate leaves on the red silk sheets of a wedding bed,” said Sophie.

“The Ancient Chinese used fireworks as protection from evil spirits,” said CJ.

From acupuncture to weapons, each sixth grader on Team Curiosity became an expert on a specific aspect of ancient China this winter. The team hosted a museum on Friday, March 15, at the middle school library, and shared their discoveries with parents and other sixth grade classes, as well as district administrators.

Marco Polo and the Silk Road

Inforgraphics highlight key facts

Each student created a clear and crisp infographic presenting facts about their topic, as well as a hand-made artifact that brought the research to life.

“I was surprised to learn that Marco Polo traveled through China for about twenty years,” said Drew, whose project was the Silk Road, an ancient trade route linking China with the West. His display included a recreation of the great explorer’s journal.

Researching the past using technologies of today

The team’s social studies teacher, Marcia Daley Savo, highlighted an added dimension to the research process this year: School AI, an artificial intelligence platform created for students and teachers.

Daley-Savo created a chatbot with the persona of an ancient Chinese scholar that the students could query. “You could hear a pin drop,” she said, describing how engaged the students were with that aspect of the research process. Because School AI was the final phase of the research process, after using books and the library’s databases, the students’ questions were thoughtful and targeted.

Gabriella, whose topic was the Empress CIXI, said that her exchanges with the ancient Chinese scholar were an important part of her research. “I couldn’t find information in books about why she is considered so evil,” said the student. “School AI helped me.”

creating artifacts remains highlight of project

Using technology to uncover and present information were key tools of this year’s Ancient China Museum, yet the handmade artifacts remained front and center of the learning experience.

“They rammed earth into buildings’ walls as insulation,” said Molly, who stood before a two-foot-high model of a nobleperson’s home that she had created. “Their wooden buildings were built without using nails.”

“The ancient Chinese invented the repeating cross bow,” said Andrew, holding a replica he had printed with a digital printer and added wood detail to. “They tipped their darts in poison that would be lethal within 20 seconds.”