Spice: China’s Cultural Revolution

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Reed Miller

High School History (Modern Asia and World Civ)

Sewickley Academy

Curriculum Unit review

SPICE: China’s Cultural Revolution
Like many of the curriculum units available through SPICE, China’s Cultural Revolution is incredibly organized and thorough. The unit guides the teacher (and students) through an introduction to 20th Century China, the Cultural Revolution itself, and finally into a historical analysis of the effects of the Cultural Revolution. During this unit of study, students learn through hands on activities, analysis of literature, primary source analysis, and investigation of artwork. The people at SPICE do a wonderful job at pulling together a complicated series of events into a concise unit of study.

The amount of primary sources that are provided in this unit is wonderful. As a teacher who likes to teach through primary documents as often as possible, I greatly appreciate the range of sources that this unit presents. While traditional government documents and sayings by Mao are given, they are augmented by lyrics to songs, personal letters, memoirs, and pictures and paintings. The use of these different mediums allows access to the information for many different types of learners.

Along the same vein, a good portion of the unit is devoted to the reading and discussion of Red Scarf Girl, a memoir of a Chinese girl who lives through the Cultural Revolution. The use of this easily read, engaging book gives students insight into the life of a person who lived through the events allows them to gain a better understanding of how the Cultural Revolution affected the every day lives of people of the time period. The fact that the author and main character in the book is a teenager certainly makes the reading more relatable to high school students.

One of the beauties of this SPICE unit is that, as a teacher, you can pick and choose from the different lessons provided. You could easily use the entire unit from beginning to end in order to conduct an in-depth study of the Cultural Revolution, or you could pick one or two lessons from the unit to help guide the students through a more surface level understanding of the time period. Either way, the information provided by SPICE would be beneficial to the teaching of this topic.

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