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Below you will find our lesson and some helpful resources for the section on Lei Zu and the Silkworm in Chapter 10 of Story of the World. You can see all my lessons and Story of the World resources here.
Paragraph 1 - 4: The Yellow River Valley
(Paragraphs based on Revised edition)
We used the world map from Map Trek - Ancient Times (part of their free sample pages) to find all the places mentioned in paragraph 1-3. He remembered quite a bit...and it's nice seeing some recall finally kicking in. All the repetition really helps.
At paragraph 4 we also stopped to look at some pictures of Chinese boats in the "Great Waterways" section in DK Ancient China (a book we found at our library).
If you are breaking up the section into smaller parts for younger learners, this is a good place in the chapter to stop and take a break.
Paragraph 5 - End of Section
When we read paragraph 5 about Huang Di we also stopped and looked at the page in DK Ancient China on "Health and Medicine", since Huang Di is said in legends to have discovered medicine.
It's important to note that there was more than one Huang Di...another, Shi Huangdi is talked about in chapter 32 of SOTW...he was the Huang Di who conceived of the Great Wall of China and had the terra cotta soldier's built. So if you are looking for info online about Huang Di, you may also find info on him.
In stead of reading the story in the book about Lei Zu we read Silk Princess by Charles Santore. This was a fun story, which my son enjoyed, and I loved the illustrations, but it added magic elements and changed the tale in other ways, such as moving the discovery to the princess in stead of the queen (which I had a little less problem with, since in the last pages it explained that in some ancient tales the discovery was attributed to Huang Di's daughter, not wife). I sort of wish I had stuck with the story as told in Story of the World, or taken the time to find another picture book that left out magic and just stuck with the plain story. It's not that I mind magic in folk tales, but there's so few stories of ancient inventors, and even less so of FEMALE ancient inventors, that I would have liked to leave more of this in the rhelm of the conceivable, than make it into just another fable.
Here is a time lapse video of a silkworm making a cocoon (I've started it at minute 2:10...you can go back and also watch them munching leaves and such, but that may take too much time for most kiddos).
Here's a picture of silkworms....
Generally in the making of silk the silkworms are killed before emerging as moths to prevent them from chewing through the pod, thus damaging the silk strands. But if they are allowed to emerge, the moth looks like this....
Pictures from Pixabay
At our co-op we drank some Chinese tea together, and someone brought in actual silk worm pods for the kids to touch and play with. Silk worm pods are used as a beauty product and as such can be ordered inexpensively online.
Depending on the season you can also sometimes actually buy silk worms online if you would like to watch the whole silk worm cocoon making process.
Color a silk worm and moth online.
Life Cycle of a Silk Worm
More graphics for pinning or sharing...